Sunday, January 24, 2010

Igniting Sparks

Back in August of last year, Vanrensalier at Saint Austin’s Pub put up an interesting tongue in cheek post called, The Pen Pusher Test, in which he posed questions meant to ferret out those of us with ‘serious’ pen pushing tendencies. I got a kick out of that because I couldn’t help seeing myself in his questions, and wondering, “Am I that far gone?” The answer is probably yes.

I suppose my story today could apply to any one of several questions in Vanrensalier’s post. Nonetheless, I can’t help thinking that the outcome of my addiction in this case was definitely along positive lines. Not sure that I sent anyone running to the nearest fountain pen dealer, but perhaps I opened a window.

I have a young acquaintance here in Tokyo who is something of an artist, and who no doubt will one day after finishing high school and art college, find his way as a successful artist. A few months back he was working on an assignment at school combining drawing and/or painting with English text, something that expressed his feelings in connection with the drawing. The first time I saw a draft of his work, the text was written in pencil. I asked if he had considered doing it in ink, and if the idea appealed I’d be happy to loan him a fountain pen along with the ink of his choice.

He was reluctant at first for fear of imposing, or maybe even damaging the pen, but I waved off his concerns and handed over three pens for him to take home and play around with. A couple of days later he returned the pens, saying he would like to use the Sailor Professional Gear pen for his assignment. For the ink he chose De Atramentis Guiseppe Verdi Blue from my sample book, and I cleaned and filled the Sailor with that ink.

A few weeks later I was quite honored to receive his painting—post exhibition—as a gift. His way of saying thanks.

Did this experience light a spark of interest in fountain pens? I like to think so.

The text in the picture…

Thursday, September 10, 2009 — Morning

I rode fast on my bicycle, because I was late. I felt many different things on the way to school. First, I heard the breeze blowing and then noticed a utility pole on the road paved with concrete. Then I noticed other natural things in a routine way, and I thought, “Why have I [not] noticed the things around me lately? Why did I lose that?” I missed these things in the course of busy days. But today I re-connected with the daily important sights around me. I don’t want to lose that ever, even after I am grown. I don’t want to lose track of the small but important things around me.

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America