What’s What 1/7-1/13/24

Inked Right Now

  • Columbus Nuovi Argenti (?) with J. Herbin Bleu Pervenche

  • Kaweco Art Sport with Kaweco Royal Blue

  • Newton Prospector with Montegrappa Black

  • Pilot Custom 845 with Iroshizuku Asa-gao

The origins of the Columbus and 845 were discussed here. The Prospector and Art Sport were inked a little before Christmas. A lot of blue and a bit of black in the ink choices. I think the 845 will need a refill within the week so that will provide an opportunity to add a lighter, brighter shade. Maybe Tsutsuji or Yama-budo.

Thinking About

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but it’s time to stop getting new pens. Last summer I hit the brakes and tried to figure out the point of all the acquisitions I was making. I think that helped to refocus what was and wasn’t important for making buying decisions and the rest of the year saw more deliberate choices. 

I also made the point to myself that there were plenty of pens already on hand that could use a nib swap or customization. Whether to improve the writing experience or try something new, nib upgrades would seem to be the best place to spend the pen budget. But I didn’t choose that path in the last third of 2023. 

Why? Maybe because the reward takes longer, sending a pen off for over a month to get work versus ordering something new and having it in a few days. Making the choice to abstain from the quick gratification of retail therapy is not easy. Large parts of our lives and culture are built around the idea that anything you want is a few clicks away and you deserve it because of myriad reasons or justifications. 

Wanting to make a different choice than was made in the past is one thing. Actually doing it is another. Sometimes it helps to change routine. Get in the habit of doing something else and hopefully the old choices aren’t so readily lurking in your mind. To that end…

New & Exciting

I decided to start a habit tracker for some things I want to keep myself accountable for each day. Part of what hasn’t worked for me with things like this in the past is making the goals too large or the system too elaborate. On this go around, the things I want to establish are smaller and of lower stakes. Things to serve different purposes a little bit at a time. What notebook would work for this? I chose an A6 Lamy.

I think I bought this as a random addition sometime in the last few years because it was on clearance somewhere and I was curious. The paper quality on these is pretty good but has some shortfalls with fountain pen inks or thick points. Because of that, and because A6 is slightly larger than I like for backpocket carry, it’s never been a candidate for use as a daily notebook at work. But the line/grid pattern on the pages is interesting and lends itself to making your own custom layout. I wanted to keep it basic, something easy to create and quick to fill each time. With a ruler and a Pigma Micron I came up with this…

The row across the top has letters that correspond to a given item. The task & letter key is on the first page of the notebook, in case I forget which is which in the early going. The column down the side lists the month and its individual days. If I complete item A on January 1st then a check goes in the box. If not, the box is blank. Simple. The pages have enough space to get 16 days per side, so one page covers a full month. There’s room to add two more tasks if needed, which is as big as I might want this system to get. We’ll see how it progresses but so far, it’s working well.

How does this tie back to making different choices with the pen collection? My thought is to have a goal of sending pens out for nib work, or making direct inquiries, at least once per month (there are plenty of candidates) and that target goes on the tracker alongside the other items. If I’m using the tracker daily the pen target has regular visibility and, hopefully, that reminder keeps me focused on the plan. Will it work? Who knows, but it can’t hurt matters to try. The matter of which pens to send to which nibmeisters for which grinds? That might need another notebook. ;-)


8 January 2024