On Books and Banning

Another Banned Books week approaches and as usual the library will have a series of events dedicated to it. I connect with this week as a crusader for the right of every person to read whatever strikes their fancy. We are surrounded by people like us, who think like us, and eat like us, and live like us, and look like us. Books are one of the few places where you can shake up the culture that you are immersed in and see the world from someone else’s viewpoint.

I believe in the right to read and it pisses me off that so many people claim that books aren’t banned anymore. Not buying any books that deal with subjects that make you uncomfortable is “banning books”. I, personally, read “Fifty Shades of Gray” and thought it was a horribly written book but fun and not harmful to the fabric of society. I didn’t suddenly immerse myself in the lifestyle of a submissive after reading the book, not that I have objections to people who do, just that I’m as plain vanilla as they come. But there are libraries all over the country that haven’t purchased this book because people should read x, y, or z. In this case, people shouldn’t read smut or mommy porn or whatever you want to call it. I think people should be able to read things especially if they make them uncomfortable or are going to be disagreed with because that is the whole point of a library. Various viewpoints mixing it up together. And YOU get to decide, what you think about a book, issue or topic. Not the librarian, selector, or politician who runs your town.

Freedom of speech is more American than apple pie.  I hope that this year we all read something that makes us think differently for just a bit. That’s what Banned Book Week means to me.


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Having Fun at the Senior Center

Today has been fun. Had a great time.

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Pilot VP Writing Samples



Vanishing Point Writing Sample ScanI noticed that some people are coming to my blog to see writing samples from my Pilot Vanishing Points. In order to give the people what they want, I did up a quick sample of a few of my VPs. I don’t have the medium nib sample on the page because I didn’t have the M nib VP with me today. But I do have a .7 Binderized cursive italic, a .9 Binderized cursive italic and a 18K fine nib from Japan.

Just so you know, the Conway Stewart Turquoise would not skew green in any scanner so I took a picture which is closer to the color of the ink. This has nothing to do with the writing samples but since there is no ink review on FPN for this ink, I thought that I’d mention it. Also, the paper is Rhodia lined #18 pad. Might be #19. I can never remember which is which.

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Filed under fountain pens, Pens, Pilot VP

My First Filo

Personal Finsbury! Just gorgeous, don't you think?

I’ve been looking for a planner for a while. I had a MomAgenda which is great but BIG! When I was going to eight different doctors and three different therapists for my daughter, I needed that kind of space but now everything seems to have slowed down.

I downsized to a Personal Raspberry Finsbury Filofax. I ordered a Pink because everyone seemed to be out of the Raspberry. Imagine my joy when I unwrapped a Raspberry just like I wanted. If I used pencils or ballpoint pens, all would be well. There’s enough space for all my appointments. I have a separate section for Notes. Another section is for addresses and phone numbers. Basically, all the stuff you want to haul around with you all day.

Most people would keep this info in their phone. And I do, except for appointments but I’ve got an iPhone. And the one constant of an iPhone is that when you really, REALLY, need it, the battery will be dead. Plus, I can’t abide inputting appointments into a phone. It’s always more fiddly than I’m open to.

The only trouble in paradise is that the paper is terrible. I can’t use any of my fountain pens on it. I might try to make my own paper or search out different inserts. I could always use other pens but that just seems wrong somehow. I’m especially disappointed since they (Filofax) sell fountain pens! But that is a rant for another day…

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Lamy Turquoise Review

Lamy Turquoise review

Lamy Turquoise review

I got some Lamy Turquoise cartridges on a whim from Amazon. They were $4.50 and I think I added them in to some other order. You get 5 cartridges for that price so it’s not a bad deal if you have a Lamy fountain pen. It’s a terrible deal if you don’t have a Lamy fountain pen since the cartridges are proprietary. I happen to have so many Safaris and Al-Stars that I literally don’t know how many I have. I can usually put my hands on at least five at any one time. They are great for doing reviews because you can just change nibs on the same pen to see how an ink performs for different nibs.

Anyway, the Lamy turquoise is a really intense blue. In a wet writer it is a deep, clear blue. In a dry writer or an extra fine or fine nib, the color is a lighter, more traditional turquoise color. I like this color in both instances so it’s like having two colors for the price of one. This is also one of those colors that shades wildly in some pens and on some papers and not at all in other pens or on other papers. I have one Lamy where the feed has really generous flow, in this pen the color was just like the color from the 1.5mm calligraphy nib. The exact same nib on a pen with a stingier feed gave the lighter turquoise color.

As a lefty, one of the most important aspects of an ink is how fast it dries. This ink isn’t going to win any speed records but it is noticeably faster than most inks. It is water resistant when dry. I didn’t show this on the scan but I’m always drinking something in my office and writing, so trust me, I know. The paper I’ve been using lately is Rhodia or super cheap copy paper (I work at a library where every penny counts). The paper in the scans for this review is Rhodia.

As an aside, my normal ink pusher supplier  GouletPens now carries these cartridges, too.  Same price but I love dealing with Rachel and Brian so I’m giving them a little plug. This shop is where I’ll be buying my next box of cartridges.

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Filed under Al-Star, fountain pens, Goulet Pens, Inks, Lamy, Paper, Reviews, Rhodia

Rhodia Problem

Stack of Rhodia journals

My "home" collection of Rhodia

I despise the scratchy sound that rough paper can make when you write on it. I am very specific in my paper needs and paper must be smooth. One of the companies that I like is Rhodia.

So I have a few Rhodia pads. Or maybe more than a few. I didn’t realize I had so many until I took this picture which doesn’t show all of the Rhodia’s that I have.

I have one (not pictured) for a giveaway that Karen from Exaclair generously gifted for that purpose. I have a stack at work for taking notes and writing call numbers. I’m apparently known for writing on grid paper at work which surprised me because I think of myself as more of a lined rule girl. Somewhere I have a blank Webbie that is also my ink journal but I don’t know where it is. I also have at least two in the trunk of my car. Just in case the revolution comes. And then there is my complete inability to leave a Reverse Book languishing in Target.

I have blank, lined, grid and dot ruled Rhodia pads. I occasionally dabble in black covers but prefer the orange. So today I stopped by the local Ultrecht Art store and they had some No. 18 pads on clearance because the covers were smudged. Half off for some black smudges that I hadn’t noticed before I got to the register! So my new lined and blank orange pads are on the bottom of the pile.


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New Years Resolutions

I’m a fan of New Years Resolutions. It’s an unpopular position it seems lately. People seem to pooh pooh the idea because so often we don’t end up making a real change or getting to the goal. I think it’s always nice to make your wants known to the universe. Who knows what will happen after that? But I digress…

So without further ado:

  1. Lose 30 pounds by the end of the year.
  2. Become more present at work.
  3. Blog 4 times a month.
  4. Read a bedtime story to my kids every night.
  5. Read or listen to a least one complete audiobook every month and then review it.
  6. Stop buying so much ink.
  7. Get one really nice pen with an italic nib.
  8. Spend less money on random things.

That’s it. I’m putting it out there. I hope that this year I have good luck with my resolutions. I’m really going to try and make these things a habit. Well, except for #7. I think my hubby would have my head if I made getting really nice pens a habit. I also want a vintage flex nib but that might have to wait until next year.

Starting the Strathmore Visual Journal class this week. Can’t wait to try and do a visual journal. It’ll be a real challenge for me because I am not an artist. Still I want to get in the habit of doing art even if it’s bad. Confront my fears and all that. I’m afraid to suck. So I’m going to go into this thing that I love even knowing that I might not be great at it. And I hope to learn that not being a great artist is okay and failure is okay and I’ll be alright either way. Secretly though, I hope to be decent and then get better.

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