So I lied. LOL. I said Dragon Con stories this time. Maaaaybe not though.
The joy of being able to leave the house when I want to never gets old. Last week Pelikan Pens, one of the premier fountain pen makers, scheduled their Hubs all over the world. A Hub is a yearly fountain pen meetup, basically. Pelikan sends swag, goodies for everybody who signs up and shows up. People bring pens and ink, everybody eats and drinks and has a great time.
Nashville is fortunate that we have a Hub even though we don’t have even one dedicated brick-and-mortar pen store. I’ve wanted to go ever since I got into pens, and even signed up last year, but of course, couldn’t get anybody to come sit with mom for 3 hours for me to go to a fountain pen meetup. This year was different! I signed up, broke out my Pen Addict podcast t-shirt, and headed for Stout Burgers, not far from my house.
15 or so other pen fans showed up and we packed the back room and had a great time! Many of them knew each other, but they welcomed me in without hesitation. Pens were passed around the room. I asked in my online pen groups ahead of time what I should take, and was told (other than a spirit of fun!) to take a notebook for trying other people’s pens and inks, a couple of empty pens to dip in any inks I wanted to try, and any pens I wanted to show off to others.
Now, that last one was a problem. When I look through my collection, I love the pens I have, but none of them are really anything fancy or rare or special. One thing I do have that a lot of people express interest in, though, is one of my least expensive pens, this Jinhao Shark from China.
It’s cute, cheap, and writes surprisingly well, and it's a pen I know some people may not have tried; so I decided to ink it up and take it. I took my pen case and travelers notebook that I made from scraps from daddy’s old jeans and shirt. Actually, those, and my purse pen case made from duct tape and felt, got the most attention!
It was a fun evening. I got a luscious burger and split a huge order of fries (the table somehow got an extra, so, who am I to let food go to waste?) and fell in love with several pens that are on my wish list now. Our swag was a Pelikan catalog, a nice note pad, and a whole bottle of the latest Pelikan ink! Plus, a gal brought several bottles of inks she didn’t love and I gave two of those a new and loving home 😊
Better still, Lisa from Vanness Pens in Arkansas drove all the way from Little Rock for the Hub, and she planned an extra get-together the next day. So after Friday night burgers, I headed for the hotel where she was staying on Saturday afternoon. She brought several dozen pens, and people brought tons more pens and inks. We spent a couple of hours wandering around the hotel common area chatting and drinking tea and checking out each other’s goodies.
People did get a kick out of my shark pen and several of them tried it. I added some inks to my wish list, but I didn’t have a really cheap empty pen with me so I didn’t try any of the sparkly novelty inks. I didn’t want to risk clogging up my decent pens, which those inks are said to do. Inks and their properties are more important than you may realize if you know nothing about fountain pens. Some, like glittery ones, can clog the feed and nib (point) of a pen. Other brands are whispered about as being hard to clean out, or particularly caustic, especially to the insides of older pens. One gal at the Hub told a horror story about a friend of hers who mixed two inks of a certain brand…and melted the inside of her pen. Seriously.
Anyway, no horror stories on Saturday, but there was the start of an epic romance.
I saw this pen in Lisa’s sale batch and just fell in love! Such a sleek shiny pretty thing. Yes, people laugh at me, because of course I care about how it fills and how it writes and what the width of the nib is, and HOW MUCH IT COSTS. But you can call me shallow if you like, fairly sure I don’t care. Pretty matters to me! LOL
Oh, it does write very nicely, and the nib is just the width I like. It is a Stipula, an Italian brand, and this particular model is called the Speed. As the name implies, it was designed, they say, to evoke the style of those awesome Italian sports cars. Plus, I’ve developed a fondness for bright gold and hot-rod red; what can I say? :D
Best of all, Stipulas are pricey (to me, anyway. Don’t even go Google some other pen brands unless you are sitting down. Montblanc, I’m looking at you.) BUT Lisa had all the ones she had brought to the Hub on sale for half price! So, at a cost I could easily afford, I brought this pretty thing home with me. I love to give gifts to other people, and I’ve decided that every now and then, I need to give myself permission to get myself a gift.
In other news, I’m working on more baby gifts for friends and acquaintances. My hand is almost back to 100 percent! If I try to do too much without my splint, like 3 hours of crochet, it starts to ache again, but as long as I take it easy, it’s good. I’m still sleeping in the splint, and wearing it when I use the computer. Also reading a lot, and writing, of course. Ideas chase their tails around in my head all day and I love it! I’m also pulling my cross-stitching back out, and pondering trying some other crafts…will share that next time, subject to whatever else may come up between now and then.