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Monday, 30 March 2009

The Pen Is Mightier...

Rotring Pictures, Images and Photos

On another, much-loved, blog, we were asked to tell the tale of a pen that we love to try to win the wonderful prize of a book chock-full of astounding stories on the subject of Valuing Diversity and a nice pen - Within the book's leaves there nestles a piece of valued writing by the wonderfully clever Diane, of Diane's Addled Ramblings... To my mind, Diane is never totally addled, or 'caravanned', as I might term it, (please see comedy clip by up and coming comedian, Michael McIntyre), nor does she ramble without intent, (at least nothing like I can do, but we share a lovely Crown for Rambling - As you can see over there on the right!

...So here goes... I am an English civil servant, have been for twenty-three years later this year. Although I've had the pleasure ~ Can you hear the groans from where you are?! - of working in a variety of different departments and locations; Always moving on before I am caught out, rapped on the shoulder, and uncovered as the sham that I am, all these departments of government work in very similar ways...

As for pens, once the tools of our trade, before the advent of computers, cheap, (not even as wonderful as French Bic), tawdry ballpoint pens are the order of the day, and are kept under sturdy lock and key by stealthy, Jobsworth store clerks for the precious commodities that they are...

In fact, it got to a point in some offices I toiled in, where you practically had to prove that the pen was empty of blood before you could be granted the unadulterated pleasure of a new pen!

I kid you not... When it comes to the 'public purse', they abhor waste...

One day, I espied the pen of my dreams... It was clenched firmly, but gently in the left hand of a colleague from a Partnership Against Drugs... The dappled high-noon sun glinted sparks off its silvery titanium torso... It had a chunky top consisting of red and orange rubber, highlighted with silver markings... To me, it was full of desire, akin to the Aston Martin of pens, with red and orange rubber 'Go-Faster!' stripes hugging its powerful midriff... Talk about a six-pack!

I held my breath...startled by its allure. The pen whispered of so much promise. When I had it in my possession, I too would be enchanted, transformed, changed into an other-WORDly being... Bright and Beautiful...

Death Note The pen is mightier than the sword Pictures, Images and Photos

I wandered carelessly into The Pen Shop, eyes darting back and forth in the harsh strip lights. I eschewed cheaper versions of my prize, handing over crisp, cold, hard cash to the 'Dealer in Pens'... And then ink flowed from the smooth rollerball like fragrant water from a cool mountain stream, and I penned succinct meeting notes and neglected To-Do Lists more fluidly, more intelligently, as if I were borne to it... My writing right hand felt more comfortable than it had ever done, cushioned by the rubberized coat... I tend to press down heavily when I write (I do nothing by halves...), so you can often read my writing on another page, as if it were braille... This pen freed my spirit and my aching hand.

I cherished this instrument of beauty for two long years, caressing its mild steel and feeding it black and blue refills as its mood took it. It travelled with me, securely nestled in an assortment of functional seasonal handbags... This pen was my other self, and others in turn coveted its smooth and sexy grace, its promise. It escaped from my too-large handbag on one occasion, on a day when my boss was giving me a lift, and it travelled home with him. His bright teenage daughter almost stole it away from me - It was love at first sight for her, she had gasped with excitement, he told me, and the pen's siren song wove its bitter-sweet web around her too... This is what the company website says about my pen...

Debaufre Ocean 1 & Rotring Core Pictures, Images and Photos

"Still based in Hamburg, the company imprints each piece with a red ring, which in German means "Rotring". Rotring has always been the choice of free-thinkers everywhere. Unique people have unique ideas, and want to express them in unique ways. With clean elegance and unsurpassable quality, Rotring's new writing instruments are part of their world. Their subtle contours and clear lines combine functionality, writing comfort and style. Rotring writing instruments are designed for individuals who play an active part in life. Rotring writing instruments are part of the fun! Rotring pens are sought out by those who understand the power of the written word and who have the sheer grit and determination to bring their goals to fruition..." ...That speaks to me, I am entranced by the smart and sleekly seductive marketing elf.

Are you?

And so... Recently, while I was still working, the last refill gulped to an end, and I dragged myself up the moving staircase to the original Dealer to re-ignite the pen's bright flame, to restore its energy and vitality... In hushed tones, echoing from the clear crystal counter, the assistant leaned towards me and told me a tale that would halt my wild heart...

Anime-style mermaid Pictures, Images and Photos

"I'm sorry, but Rotring have been subsumed into a bigger - Inferior, but really well known, American Global Corporation... They have stopped making the pens... I know, they were really popular; They are lovely pens, they write beautifully, don't they? But they only want us to buy and stock their already established merchandise... These are their refills. Let me see if one will fit... They tell us that they do."

She could not have toyed with less mercy with my sword, my implement, my love... The refill implanted in it, like a rogue seed, I left the shop almost in tears...

I have not been the same since that moment... I found that the ink did not flow nicely, and the rolling nib now scratched across paper as if it were a too-old feather quill that needed sharpening. The ink was thinner, cheaper meaner, less vibrant...

...Now, I am considering ink therapy... What th-Ink you, mes dahlinks?! Can you satisfy my cravings, my addiction to ink?

And thank you, in the meantime, to the wonderfully prescient Saz, from never Fat, Frumpy and Fifty, who kindly parcelled to me a pen of golden crystal mirrors accompanied by am amber sequinned notebook which helped to brighten my day, and loosened my frantic grip on the pen that can now never be... Thank you so, Saz - Sara - 'You're the poet in my heart, never change, never stop...', as La Nicks tells it... and lo it was so.



Rotring and Color Pencil Pictures, Images and Photos

31 comments:

ladyfi said...

I loved this love poem to a pen!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Thank you lady fi-inky! x

Diane said...

I knew it was coming and still, I cried, "Noooooooo!!!!" Poor, poor Fhina! I've had pens I've liked, even liked a great deal, but never one I've loved in quite that way. I know, however, there is one out there for me... and I shall find it!

And remember, though I'm sure it will be little consolation... it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all... ;) xo

blognut said...

Oh, Fhina! You don't need a pen to make you enchanted or other-worldly. No ma'am. You were Bright and Beautiful before that pen, and you will always remain so.

Nevertheless, I'm sorry for your loss...

Alas, I have given up on the search for the perfect pen because I work with thieves, and because no class of pen will transform my chicken-scratch penmanship into anything even remotely legible. Handwritten notes and lists always turn out looking as though they were written with my toes.

Love to you, Lady Fhina x's and o's by the bushel

Artist Unplugged said...

I too felt the fate of the pen ahead of the end. So sorry, the ink well ran dry long before it's time. My condolences.

French Fancy said...

I hate these big companies buying out the small classic and classy set-ups. What a shame you couldn't get the proper refill - maybe someone on e=bay has what you need.

Heather said...

How sad! Pens don't get the attention they deserve, do they? I, too, write with a heavy hand, so finding a pen that can handle the task isn't always easy. Some bleed out too freely, others have too sharp tips that cut the paper as I write... there's a delicate balance. Finding the perfect accomplice, only to lose it after years of love must be difficult. :)

Derrick said...

Fhina,

I was near to tears reading that and then Mr McIntyre finished me off!! He's wonderful isn't he?

As for the book, the prize is there for the taking, I reckon!

Lola said...

I worked in graphic design before the advent of Apple computers. I would do mock-ups by hand for logos, letterheads, etc. I used Rotring pens of all sisez, some with tips as thin as a tattooer's needle. They were wonderful. My fingers (my calloused right middle finger in particular) will be forever stained with night black ink of China of those days.

When I feel a little nostalgic, I take out my sepia ink well and my tips and I write, I *really* write. The squeaks and scratches the pen makes on the paper are the sounds of my thoughts. Ciao

Chairman Bill said...

When I was into calligraphy I used a gold nibbed Shaeffer with peacock blue ink. I would write all my ships' logbook entries in this. It was something I picked up fom my father, who used the same ink.

Suldog said...

There's nothing quite like a prized pen. I had a Parker that I adored when I was younger, and which I lovingly used to record many arcane baseball statistics.

(Which begs the question of whether there are any baseball statistics which are NOT arcane, but I digress.)

I lost it somewhere in travel - no true ide where - and have used Bics and Papermates since with varying degrees of repulsion.

Bee and Rose said...

I am so sorry! I too have a fondness for those magical writing implements that are so rare and so treasured. My son paid me a huge compliment the other day when my husband tried to "borrow" my favorite pen..."Hands off Mom's pen, dude. She'll bite you." lol! I treasure my sweet pen from my grandmother. I have a feeling re-fills will become a thing of the past for it soon as well.

A beautiful ode to a pen...loved it!

Protege said...

I have never read a more wonderful serenade to "the pen".
But I so agree with you, scripture and the way a pen can immortalized thoughts and stories, even or history, is a marvel worth our awe.
I have too written about pens, especially the inkwell pens, that today seem so outdated.;)

Lovely post as always.;))

shabby girl said...

So beautifully said! I could feel your wonder, and love, of this pen.
Yes, I know of these feelings of which you speak.

Michelle said...

Terrific!!

But you know when something ends a new thing begins! A new pen perhaps? There are many beautiful ones out there!!

Look and you shall find dear one!!

Vic said...

I used to love Rotring pens-

What a beautiful ode!

Margo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margo said...

I only write with pens I can buy in bulk - currently uniball vision elites. I've had nice pens on and off, but they were never where I needed them to be, since I write all over the place. I'd lose them for months at a time. I hate getting stuck with trying to write with a bic or sparkle gel pen, or worse! I love this story!

Diane said...

Fhi... those letters I wrote to my dad from the dogs were done in my 30's... I know that makes me sound even more of a dork, but that's me! ;)

sometimessophia said...

Thank you for this. It's such a sad, fabulous tale. It would be visually stunning were it told in your handwriting with the famous ink that dries to a sputter. Sort of like a children's tale for adults... with Aubrey Beardsley illustrations... tattoo-ish line work. What do you think?

Woman in a Window said...

I was given a nice pen 20 years ago for writing encouragement. Don't know what it is or where it is. Never took it outta the box.

lizspin said...

I didn't know that pens held siren songs. . .but, you know, I can hear it now. . .

Greener Bangalore said...

Awesome!!! Great reading your blog....Just loved the way you present things....

Carolina said...

Oh gosh yes, a pen can make so much difference. There must be lot of desillusioned Rotring pen owners.

I love Michael McIntyre!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Dian-inki: You will find your instrument of choice - but you have to look for it, dear Diane - I have realised that I need to look for a replacement for my Rotring Core now I am heading back to work, as of next week... Sigh-inky xxx

Bloggus Nutellinki: Bless you for your blessed-inkiness, BN! We all seek props, do we not, to assist in our allure, our game, our play that is life? Non?! But you are always so sweet and so kind - And I am not saying that I do not work with people who might pick up a pen sans realising it, but I make up for it by carrying it everywhere with me - Even to the loo, clenched between my teeth, I kid you not! I loved your 'chicken scratch' writing - Mine sometimes looks as if a drunken spider has fallen into an ink-well and then scattered across the page... You make my day-inka! xox

Artist Unplugged-Ink: I know, my stories are always bitter-sweet - I never have or get happy-inky endinks! x

French Fancy-ink: I know exactly what you mean - It turns out that Lamy now provide the refills, while Rotring still exist but focus on their technical and art supplies, rather than general pens - I looked into it a little more yesterday... I did scour e-bay at the time for pens and refills, there were some in France, but sometimes you just have to close a door and move on, and I know you would understand that sentiment, FF... x

Heather-ink: They are a very overlooked implement of beauty - I was using, as a short-term replacement, a bright pink sort of felt tip pen, but a hard felt tip - It was an ergonomic shape, and very cheap, however, the drawback is that the pen top does not fit on the pen, so you have to just set it down somewhere, and of course, I am always losing it! 'The perfect accomplice' - That is just beautiful! x

Derr-ink: I love Mr McIntyre - Always good for a real laugh out loud moment!

Lol-inka: How interesting that you worked in art, Lol-inka! They are wonderful pens, and so beautiful to use, and not that expensive, given what you can pay for pens, but our love affair in ink was just not to be, n'est-ce pas? I love the idea of writing in ink properly - But I am just too cack-handed, I know it would be as if the drunken spider had fallen in the ink-well again and this time bounced off the page! x

Chairman Bill-Ink: My dad also swore by Schaeffer pens - so I always associate them with him too - My OH bought me a lovely silver coloured ballpoint of theirs years ago and I loved it, but my clammy hands always slipped over its too-smooth body so that I could not write for any length of time - So sad...

Suldog-in-Ink: I do love a good and proper, old-fashioned BiC, and buy them by the dozen to scatter about my home - but there must be someplace they hide, for I never see them again... Bizarrre, non?!

Bee and Rose-Ink: I like your story-inka! Beautiful! I bite too! I think it's that transcience thing about pens that always hurts me - I will buy another, but what if I can no longer buy the refills, what if, what if... xx

Proteg-Ink: Bless-inka you, Z! xxx

Shabstress-Inka: Thank you - and it is something of a love-affair we have with inanimate objects, is it not - We seek something that shall complete us...x

Michell-Ink: You are so right, M, and I started to look online yesterday - You have spurred me on and that has to be a good thing, right?! I need to look and find, thank you so, dear bright one! xox

Vink: Thank you so dear Vinkstress!

Marg-inka: I like the flow of Uniballs, definitely - I think they're French, are they not - My only concerns is that on me they leak, and in my bags - I have found - I am very cack-handed, as I often say, sadly! I sometimes ;) do write with sparkle gel pens, especially in pink... Hangs head in non-girly shame!

Dinkiane: That doggy tale has only served to make me love your inky fingers even more, Diane, you know that! Hell, we do read Henry The Dog's Diaries, and so many others you know - Perhaps you need to start another blog for all those lovely woofers, and Sundance too - Imagine the fun, and it's not as if you've got anything better to do with all that free time you have, right? Right?! Only kidding, of course! ;) xox

sometime-inks-sophia: Bless you, that is such a kind thought! And you know perhaps that those pics I chose to illustrate the tale were all done with Rotring pens - I found that just incredible - It's a shame Blogger eats up a lot of the pics - but they're there on Photobucket if you type in Rotring - Mad, bad and dangerous to know, non, just like the bad, bold and beautiful Aubrey Beardsley - I love him too! xx

Woman ink a Window: I think you have to find pens and they find you - I find the ones I have been given as gifts rarely have the same allure as one I have touched and chosen myself, if that makes sense...

lizspinka: You just have to get a qtip in those ears, Liz, and listen for the siren-song of a pen and ink - Just like you would with a conch shell, listening for the call of the sea! xx

Green-Ink in Bangalore-Ink: Thank you, thank you dearly :)

Carolinka: I think there must be a lot of us out there, only they are not using the Inkternet to cry out their sorrows! I adore Michael McIntyre - such an energetic talent! xx


31 March 2009 10:04

Mary Elizabeth said...

This is a Beautiful poem to The Pen. When I was a kid I never had one and I always wish to, but mom just gave me pencils... now I can’t do without a pen.
Lovely post.
Congrats for nomination POTD @ David’s blog.
From Now and Then.
Mary Elizabeth.

jinksy said...

Blogger has only just consented to let me see this wonderfull reminder of my Civil Servant days! I ignored their pens with the distain they deserved and bought my own chunky-barrelled variety to ward off writer's cramp, so I identify totally with your feelings. But I'm still suffering from boomerang emails...

The Vengeance said...

I want a pen like yours toooooooooo... why would you so delight my imagination and send such shutters of pleasure dancing across my spine just to break my heart like that? I'm still weeping from the horrifying beauty of your post.

http://iamthevengeance.blogspot.com

Moannie said...

What a great ode to your ink pen.

As a sinestre I have always had a bad time with pens, well with writing at all. In school we had these awful things with nibs which we dipped into our INK pots set into the INKpot hole in our desks.Blighted with split or broken nibs,caused by over-use, my crabbed sideways writing would crawl over the excercise book leaving INK blots in its wake so that it looked as if a large spider had fallen in the INK pot and scuttled wetly over the page. Tieing my left hand behind my back to force me to use my right, did not help one bit.

I did eventually find a pen that made my writing legible and I used it for years, a Parker felt tip, then they in their wisdom discontinued that pen and I could never find another refill. Know just how you feel.

ed said...

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TonyHough said...

Glad you liked my little mermaid enough to illustrate your interesting treatise to the Rotring pen with her. Yes, she was drawn with one, a special iridium coated refillable one that I got from the woman at the local art shop for half price - a real coup!
You can see more of my work (including a coloured version of her) at my gallery site at http://www.tonyhough.co.uk
It would be sweet if you could add a link to this gallery in your posts if you use any more of my work in your blog (and you're very welcome to do so!) Regards,
Tony Hough
You might also like to link to my blog at http://tonyhough.blogspot.com/

Something I wrote earlier...

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