Last Wednesday I had the wonderful experience of running into another fountain pen user at the coffee house before work--nice gentleman, pastor of a local church. He's a fountain pen collector, but definitely uses his pens. He had a nice little batch of pens with him--a few variations on the Pelikan M200 (including demonstrators in blue and amber--I like!), a HUGE Laban Mento (realllly beautiful material, those), and a bunch of nice little Esterbrooks. He was carrying them primarily in little zip folio type cases, with slots for pens and a zipper to keep everything snug. My favorite of his two or three cases had maybe half a dozen pen slots on one side and an index card writing surface on the other--way cool! Levenger-made--he said he got it when they closed that style out. There's nothing like that on their site now.
It was awfully nice to be able to babble about pens with someone who understands this obsession. And as he was leaving, he *gave* me the little blue Esterbrook he'd let me try. Wouldn't take it back. Which makes me feel like rather a cheapskate for just giving away Heros. What a generous gift!
However, without saying a word, he unwittingly made me feel rather guilty about the way I treat my pens. I confess, at most, I clip them to the edge of one of the end pockets on my bag, and at worst, I just toss them in any which way. I don't have anything super old or rare, granted, but it's probably not the best way to treat them long term.
I looked on-line, but most of the pen cases I found were very expensive. Pen wraps were a little less so, but then I got to thinking...maybe I could just make one. So I went to Jo-Ann, picked up a fabric remnant that seemed about the right sort of material (something I could cut without worrying about frayed edges), and attempted to hand-sew something acceptable. Considering this was just the prototype, I left the edge on, didn't measure, and didn't chalk out any kind of lines to guide my stitching. I should have--it's all crooked lines and odd angles. I will also make the flap come all the way down on a future edition, if I make one, and will use another part of the material where the lines will be straight (I left the nicer part of the material aside). Still, although it's ugly (I hadn't done any sewing in...um...at least a decade), it's functional. And it cost me about a buck in materials. Gotta love that.
Give this a try: look around the room. Find something that catches your eye--a picture, maybe, or the rug, or the Siamese cat opening the drawer to the dresser where you store yarn and pulling stuff out onto the floor and---hey, Tamino! Knock it off!
Where was I? Oh, writing prompts. So...look at whatever-it-is and think of a few words that describe it. Ponder those words. Let them roll around in your brain for a few moments. Focus on them. Think of double meanings for them, or how they could apply to a character's life. "Red chair?" Think of a life story for it, or how it was the very favorite chair of George's Aunt Melba, who would visit at the most inconvenient times and park there and refuse to leave no matter how obvious he made it that he needed to go because the love of his life was waiting for him at the park on the other side of town.
I had opportunity to try this out this week. I had to do a software install at an off-site office, and much of the install involves waiting and watching that blue line crawl slowly across the screen. I was all alone in a side office, no one to talk to, but I had a notebook and a pen, and I had a roomful of the sort of things people put around them at work--photos and comic strips and knickknacks and lists of phone numbers and plastic desk organizers. I was bored, so I tried to think of something to write about, and my eye kept coming back to the clock--a white plastic thing with butterflies on it. Butterflies. A butterfly clock. And I started scribbling, and got down the bones of what ultimately became this slightly sticky-sweet poem:
Field of daisies
turn in time with the sun;
I am running to meet you
down by the water
where trails of light meld into one
which leaps 'cross the ripples
and into tomorrow
where the waves reach up to the sky
and the golden of daylight
meets purple of twilight--
we stand watching night drawing nigh.
There's a hush on this moment
one golden moment
I am caught in a moment with you;
With my hand in your hand
we walk back through daisies,
asleep now--awaiting their dew.
The sun clocks have stopped
as though time has ceased:
we walk on eternity's shore.
In the blue-velvet darkness
I am awestruck by beauty
my heart is too full to take more.
For what it is, I'm fairly pleased with it.