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Topical

  • The World In Pens

    ● Gizmodo reports that Star Wars fever has reached the pen world with a lightsaber fountain pen from S.T. Dupont that floats on a magnetic platform and retails for more than £16,000. Dupont also offers an X-Wing fountain pen, while Cross has its own line of Star Wars-themed writing instruments.

    ● The accumulation of discarded pens concerns some students in India, so they've collected nearly 10,000 of them to display and hopefully convince fellow students to cut back, according to The Hindu. (They're trying to promote the use of pens made from paper, instead.)

    ● The Trail-Gazette profiles the owner of an unusual – and brilliant – business in a small mountain town in Colorado. It's a combination coffee shop/stationer that sells Moleskine notebooks and Retro 51 pens, among others, along with its cups of coffee. Continue reading

  • Ready For A Month Of Letter Writing?

    If you've been trying to get yourself motivated to write more letters, then February is the perfect month for you.

    Two different events running this month challenge people to spend February reviving the habit of communicating the old-fashioned way, with ink and paper. One is International Correspondence Writing Month, started by fountain pen collector Eric Schneider. The other is author Mary Robinette Kowal's Month of Letters.

    Both make the same simple request: During February, write and send at least one letter, postcard, or note every day. These can be letters and postcards sent to distant pen pals, or just notes written and passed to family, friends, co-workers, or complete strangers.

    There's no right way or wrong way to do it, as long as you write them by hand (no typing at all) and send something every single day.

    On the InCoWriMo site, you can add yourself to the participant map and find people who are looking for pen pals, including George Lucas and Richard Branson. Month of Letters (LetterMo) offers a forum where participants can connect with each other.

    If it's been a while and you're a little fuzzy on the mechanics of writing a letter, Scheider and Stephen Brown have put together a helpful instructional video on how to write a letter.

    Canadian pen store Wonder Pens also has put together a great list of places to find pen pals, in case you need someone to correspond with.

    Of course, you don't have to write letters to faraway people. Consider spending the month leaving notes for people you know...and people you don't.

    Write a note to your spouse and leave it in a favorite coffee cup. Write one to a co-worker you admire and leave it on their desk. Write another to that neighbor you never speak to, but should, and tape it to the front door.

    You can even write notes to people who annoy you.

    This is your chance to say those things that always seem to slip by the wayside. All you have to do is pick up your pen.

  • The World In Pens

    ● Lamy's introduced a new high-end pen range – imporium – and the Naples Daily News highlights a Florida stationer that is one of only 12 in the US to carry the pens.

    ● BlogHer joins the adult coloring craze with a few useful tips on getting into the habit, including one common-sense bit of advice that works: Keep your coloring book where you can see it and be reminded to use it.

    ● ITV reports on a London artist who is collecting articles of clothing and stories about the owners for an installation project that mixes handwriting and hand-stitching. When finished, the Stitch Lives of London will feature 215 garments with the owners' handwritten stories stitched into them. Continue reading

  • Learn A Foreign Language By Journaling

    languagePlanning to learn a foreign language this year? Then break out a new journal.

    Writing by hand is a highly recommended way to improve your recall and understanding of foreign vocabulary and syntax.

    It makes sense, given what we know about the link between handwriting and learning. Continue reading

  • Interview: Writer Femi Martin

    Femi Martin is a storyteller.

    She's created fiction inspired by Charles Dickens novels, shared her struggles with illness in the Achalasia Diaries on BBC 4, and captivated UK festival audiences with performances of her short stories about love, relationships, and stolen chocolate bars.

    Her stories always start at the point of a pen, and Femi was kind enough recently to share with us how writing by hand guides her creative process.

    Tell us a little about yourself.

    I write fiction but am an avid reader of non-fiction. I am particularly interested in the body, especially the brain. As I am prone to over-thinking I have to carve time out of my day for switching off. I do this by either going to the gym, meditating, or watching reality TV. My favourite reality show is Project Runway but I mostly watch anything to do with love and relationships. Oh, and Judge Judy, of course. Continue reading

  • Interview: Amanda Miller, the Chalkboard Lady

    Art comes in all forms.

    It can be a pen-and-ink drawing. Or a watercolor painting. Or a delicate pencil sketch.

    Or sometimes, it can be a simple chalkboard menu written in a flowing hand.

    Meet Amanda Miller, known as the Chalkboard Lady to her clients.

    Please tell me a little about you.

    I live in the East Yorkshire village of Cottingham with my husband and two Labradors.

    Please tell me a little about your work.

    I produce chalkboard art and wall-art for businesses and homes across Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. My clients range from major pub chains to small independent shops and cafes. I trained as a ticket writer in the artroom of a supermarket chain producing all point-of-sale by hand. This eventually lead to me writing chalkboards. I've been doing so for 18 years now! Wall-art is very popular at the moment and I do quite a lot of that from family trees to favourite quotes, all written freehand.

    chalkboardlady1 Continue reading

  • 5 Green Pens We Recommend

    A couple of months ago, I wrote about teachers and students using green ink as part of a feedback system that focuses on improving work, instead of just highlighting mistakes.

    That made me a little curious about green pens, since I didn't really have much experience with them. The few I'd used were pretty unimpressive, mostly because the ink was so pallid. So I decided to take a run through a bunch of green pens to find the ones that worked the best.

    The Pen Warrior sent me a package full of disposables from most of the major brands we carry: Pilot, Pentel, Uniball, Bic, Paper Mate, Staedtler, and Stabilo. There were 18 all together, in a variety of hues. Most were stick pens. Continue reading

  • Engineers Fascinated By How Pens Work

    This was a bit surprising: A YouTube video in which an engineering professor explains how a retractable pen works became a bit of a viral hit.

    The simple 4:43 video from Bill Hammack – "engineerguy" on YouTube – had been viewed more than 370K times when I last checked, about a month after it was posted.

    In the video, Hammack uses a Parker Jotter and some 3D modeling graphics to describe the interplay between plunger, cam, and spring that extends and retracts the ink cartridge and produces that distinctive clicking noise. Continue reading

  • Interview: Novelist Zoe Sumra

    Pens are one of the most basic tools that writers can use, so when whole worlds of imagination flow out of them, it seems magical.

    And maybe it is – the story inside a writer's head comes to life when the words hit the page.

    That's why, even with all the technology available to writers today, some still prefer to start their work with nothing but a pen and paper to hand.

    Novelist Zoe Sumra is one of them. The London-based writer recently some time out to answer some questions from the Tiger Pens Blog.

    Tell us a little about yourself.

    I decided to become a novelist when I was three - I'd just learnt that the youngest published author was four and a half, and realised I had eighteen months to beat that. I didn't quite manage it: I actually started writing novels when I was twelve. Since then I have written an epic fantasy trilogy - firmly in the trunk - and quite a lot of space opera in what is now a fully developed story universe. When not writing or reading, whether for pleasure or research, I spend most of my spare time fencing, in the gym as an adjunct to fencing, or rehabilitating ankle injuries. My day job is as a print controller in the advertising industry. Continue reading

  • The World In Pens

    Business 2 Community makes the case that doodling is an effective tool to improve communication, increase productivity and spur creativity in the workplace.

    A Flavorwire article from a couple years ago making its way around social media again shows the hand-drawn/hand-written plot outlines of several famous authors, including J.K. Rowling and Joseph Heller.

    The Providence Journal profiles a doodler who developed his craft into a regular business selling pen-and-ink sketches on the US festival circuit.

    All4Women explains why journaling is good for your mental health in a succinct 12-point list that covers everything from stress management to panic attacks.

    The Sprachen blog explains in depth how to start and organize a language notebook for tracking your progress as you learn multiple languages.

    Seinfeld's "All I said was I liked the pen" holds the No. 1 spot on the Pentel blog's top 10 pop culture references to pens. (On a related note, a few years ago, we rounded up some of the best movie/TV fight scenes that involved a pen.)

    This interview with Swedish poet Emina Gaspar-Vrana on the Memopipwrites blog contains one of the best lines ever about pens and writing: "Who needs a shrink when you have a pen?"

    Kinja asked readers to vote for their five favorite pens and the Pilot G-2 made the top of the list. Maybe their readers just don't know pens.

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