One thing that we've always tried to do here at the Tiger Pens Blog is focus not just on the writing instruments, but also on the things we do with them, whether it's journaling, writing letters, drawing, or signing contracts.
See, while it's fun to talk about all the unique little aspects of our favorite pens, we actually buy them for a reason, to express ourselves in ways both mundane and extraordinary. We enjoy pens and pencils not solely for themselves, but for what we can accomplish through them. That's the whole point of a writing instrument (no pun intended).
Otherwise, those pens, no matter how brilliant their design, would be simply what...art objects?
So it's always exciting for us to come across a blog that manages to blend an appreciation for pens and pencils with a deeper understanding of what those instruments can do when properly applied. In this case, that site is the Blog of Rhonda Eudaly.
Rhonda is a writer based in Texas who posts regularly on the utensils, business and spirit of the writing life. Her blog is a deft mix of insightful pen reviews, tips on writing, news and advice about the publishing world, and her travels and travails as a writer.
Just in the last few months, she has:
- Described her trip to the Dallas Pen Show, where she met the publishers of Pen World magazine and bought herself a Monteverde One Touch.
- Told the story of how the Post Office has been renting out her PO Box to someone else for the past three years.
- Explained why writers also have to be readers because "the more you read, the more your creativity can be sparked leading you to better and more powerful fiction."
- Shared info from the awesome Joe R. Lansdale ("Bubba Ho-Tep") on how authors can leverage social media.
- And, of course, reviewed bunches and bunches of pens, from the Uniball Jetstream Premier 1.0 mm (which she did not care for) to the Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.25mm (which she did).
The blog is never just one flavor, which is what makes it all the more enjoyable.
For those of you who make a living with a pen in your hand – or want to – this is the kind of place where you want to start your morning, picking up practical tips on pens and writing, or just getting a little encouragement to keep pushing ahead in what can be a difficult field.
And what about the blogger herself? Rhonda recently took some time to answer a few questions for us, and we think you are going to enjoy getting her take on pens, writing, and the pen community.
Q: How did you first become interested in pens?
A: Short answer is "Always", but that's no fun. I've written posts about my "chicken/egg" situation with pens and writing. I've known since I was about 10 that I wanted to write. Whether my love of writing stemmed from my love of (then) school supplies or my love of supplies stemmed my desire to write is a complete mystery.
Q: What is the first pen you remember very well?
A: That's a very tough question. I really don't know, because pens have always been around. I do remember playing with the original Papermate Erasermates when they first came out and the sliver Scripto erasable pens in the late 1970s and early 1980s. My first fountain pen was a cheap Sheaffer School Pen. I just bought another one at Dallas Pen Show a few months ago.
Q: Do you consider yourself a collector of pens, or a writer who happens to use a lot of pens?
A: I'm very definitely a writer who uses a lot of pens. I'm working on an essay/article on Practical vs. Collectible. I can't imagine spending tons of money on a pen simply to display it. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the art pens. They're gorgeous, but not functional. I couldn't NOT use a pen at least once.
Q: What is your daily go-to pen?
A: I'm completely fickle and cyclical. I have periods of time where all I use is a fountain pen, then gel/rollerball, then ballpoint, then pencil, etc. I don't have ONE go-to pen. Well, maybe one in each category: Fountain would be the Platinum Preppy Extra Fine Point; Gel/Rollerball is still the Pilot G2, but the TUL is closing the gap; Ballpoint is the Pentel RSVP; and Felt tip is the Sharpie pens.
Q: Which of your pens is your favorite?
A: That's like asking me to pick a favorite KID or pet. That's just mean. 8-) I can't say I love them all equally, that would be a lie. I love my Lamy Studio, and the TWSBIs ROCK for fountain pens. I giggle of the .50 caliber bullet art pen I bought from Lahr Arts. And I have a Purpleheart handmade pen that my mom bought me for Christmas YEARS and Years ago that was my first "handmade" pen.
Q: What has been your most exciting pen discovery?
A: Again, hard to narrow down. The TWSBIs were awesome because they're really well-made and comfortable - and new. Not many people have heard of them yet, so few have them. The OHTO ROOK compact fountain pen really surprised me by being as comfortable and useful as it is being able to compact down to almost nothing.
Q: If you could design your own pen, what would it be like?
A: Now there's something I haven't even allowed myself to dream about -- until now. It would have to combine awesome writing with Science Fiction/Fantasy. It would incorporate a lot of green (that's my color). I think it would have to be a fountain pen with like either retro space gun looking qualities or futuristic sleekness. What I really want to see is a digital pen that actually WORKS to transcribe handwriting to a WORD document, TRUE OCR handwriting recognition. The Logitech IO2 and the FLY was SUPPOSED to, but never really DID. Especially if it could store data and work on "normal" paper not just special dot matrix paper.
Q: What's the one pen you've always wanted, but don't have yet?
A: Growing up dreaming of being a World Famous Author, the symbol of "making it" was a Mont Blanc. I still want one of those someday because it's always stood for awesomeness. But my current "pen of my dreams" is the Pilot/Namiki Vanishing Point Fountain Pen. I'm fascinated by a retractable fountain pen.
Q: What led you to start doing pen reviews on your blog?
A: Even I was getting bored with my website being only about writing. One of the suggestions for branching out I received was to talk about the "tools" I used as a writer. I always have pens coming in and going out, so I decided to start writing about them. It turned out to be a natural extension - and a way to feed the pen addiction.
Q: What have you learned about the pen community as a result of your blog?
A: First that there *is* a pen community. I am NOT alone in my pen love. There are others like me out there. I had no idea that there were pen SHOWS out there, much less in my area. And the other blogs and sites like Tiger Pens and JetPens? Yeah, until my husband introduced them to me through his love of mechanical pencils? I wallowed in big box retailers. It was eye opening.
Q: What has been your most popular pen-related post?
A: I don't know. I've gotten quite a bit of traction with the OHTO Rook, and weirdly enough, my Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.25mm pen (which I pegged for editing). I know I have posts linked out there, but I'm not a Google Analytics junkie.
Q: What is your goal with your blog?
A: Oh, dude! Was I supposed to have a GOAL? I knew I forgot something. 8-) Actually, all I intend to do with my blog is provide information about the pens I've encountered and used. Hopefully, others will find my experiences useful in making their choices for pens. And if they check out the blog for the fiction stuff I write, too, well, that's just gravy.
Q: What is the most interesting thing that's happened to you because of your blog?
A: The most interesting? Hmmm. I think it's virtually meeting some of the folks who've enabled my addictions to writing instruments – like Tony, here on TigerPens and Brad Dowdy over at JetPens. And discovering the Dallas Pen Show and the folks over there who understand me.
Q: What can we expect in the future from the blog?
A: I'm in the habit of this now, so there will actually BE a future for the blog. I hope to have some more pencil reviews done jointly with my husband (that's HIS addiction), maybe branch out into paper some. I'm always open to suggestions on how to make it more entertaining. One thought that just occurred to me that could encompass BOTH aspects of my blog is maybe talking to other authors to find out what THEIR favorite writing tools are - instead of flat out just pen reviews and author "what are you writing now" interviews... hmm. I'll have to ponder that. See if there's any interest in it...
In addition, Rhonda told us she, “lives in Arlington, Texas where she's worked in offices, banking, radio, and education to support her writing. She's married with dogs and a rapidly growing rubber duck collection. She likes to spend time with friends and family, movies, and reading. Her two passions are writing and music.”
If you haven’t been to her Rhonda’s blog yet, get on over there now and check out her most recent posts, as well as some of her fiction work. You’ll be glad you did.