It's all about the written word...

Celebrating three years in publication. Thank you for visiting often!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pure Elegance

The new Porsche Design Pure is a great-looking and sporty fountain pen with an 18-karat gold nib. It is available in Pure Black with a matte black finish ($525), packaged with a keepsake leather paperweight reminiscent of a Porsche 911. The Pure Titanium Deluxe limited edition fountain pen offers just 200 pieces worldwide ($2,800). Also with an 18-karat gold nib, the Pure Titanium Deluxe is sleek in look and comfortable in the hand. Chartpak, which also distributes Pelikan in the US, has recently been named the distributor of Porsche Design.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

William Henry strikes again

William Henry, Oregon-based knife, pen and accessories producer, is known worldwide for its amazing U.S.-made products and for its cutting-edge designs. Most recently, the company has begun working with a Japanese maki-e artist to embellish select knives. This gorgeous one-of-a-kind piece is priced at $6,800.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Writing for Culture

I was talking to my son-in-law, a filmmaker and teacher at a private boys’ school. We were discussing the trials and challenges of trying to teach teen-age boys anything, never mind the subtleties and details of the history of filmmaking, which is part of his curriculum. He was telling me how the kids frequently question their need to know the topic and how his response is always the same: “Like literature or music or art, film is an important part of our culture.” And I got to thinking about pens, of course.

I’m usually taken aback when people say they have no interest in handwriting—theirs or anyone else’s—or the implements used to write. To many, pens and writing seem an anachronistic nuisance in today’s world of computers, hand-held communication devices, and the like. I agree that we should avail ourselves of all the great technology around us. But to go back to filmmaking for just a moment, Avatar would probably never have been made were it not for King Kong.  It’s all part of our evolution of ideas and practices, I believe. But is it appropriate to say that the pen is the very distant and direct cousin of the computer? Probably not, other than the fact that they are both used to formulate and communicate. Their evolutionary branches are too far apart. But still, I think it’s important not to let one flourish at the huge expense of the other, since, to quote my son-in-law, each is an important part of our culture.

I recently read that the decline in penmanship skills is indeed a sorry state of affairs, since handwriting forces our brain to react in a very specific and positive way. But equally important is the fact that if you can’t write in longhand, you probably can’t read it either, which makes a vast store of knowledge unavailable. Old manuscripts, famous documents and the like will need to be deciphered like an unfamiliar language that is, strangely, our own. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bruce Lee from Montegrappa

The new Dragon 2010 Bruce Lee limited edition pen collection is from Montegrappa's Icon Series. It is a reinterpretation of the company's original Dragon pen, first introduced in 1995. There are a total of 2010 pens in the series: 888 sterling silver fountain pens, 888 sterling silver rollerball pens, 88 yellow gold fountain pens, 88 yellow gold rollerball pens; and, there are eight each in yellow gold:  fountain and rollerball pens with black diamonds, fountain and rollerball pens with rubies, fountain and rollerball pens with emeralds. The pens range in price from $4,675 to $102,200.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Coming in March...

Visconti’s new Michelangelo comes in black resin with an elegant plum-colored bronze trim or blue-black resin with palladium trim. The pens are available in five modes (including a “fountain-roller”) and range in price from $225 to $395. The fountain pen has a 14-karat gold nib.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Now in silver...

The revitalized Conklin pen company is introducing a new color in its Herringbone series: silver. The fountain pen has a flexible stainless steel nib and is priced at $110. The capped rollerball is priced at $95, and the ballpoint pen, $80. The Herringbone Silver joins Deep Sea Blue, Golden Yellow, Slate Gray, Spring Pink and Sunrise Orange.The Conklin pen company was first established in 1898. Production ceased in 1955, but the company was revived in 2000. It was acquired by the Yafa Pen Company in 2009.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The right touch...

That ever-creative Monteverde has just come out with the One-Touch pen designed with a soft stylus that may be used on your iPad or iPhone, or any other type of touch screen. It's retractable, and it's available in black, gray, pink and red. It may be yours for a mere $30. Not bad.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A pen will never let you down...

Cold. Everywhere. I just returned from a trip to New England, where snow and ice storms stopped traffic, chilled us to the bone, and caused intermittent power outages--which meant no computer. I returned to Houston, where ice storms re-routed traffic, put stress on our overworked heating systems and caused power outages. Again, no computer. Acceptance has become a big part of my personal ethos these days. But acceptance doesn't mean going belly up when things go awry as they invariably sometimes do. It means doing what you can, keeping a sense of humor and making the best of things. So I pulled out a bunch of pens and took the time to reacquaint myself with a few models that I hadn't danced with in a while. The storms stayed outside, I lit a few candles and put on a sweatshirt. I had a blast.

Power of pens and penmanship...

See this link for information about Jon Robin Baitz's new hit play, “Other Desert Cities,” at Lincoln Center in NYC. Baitz also talks about the importance (and pain) of penmanship and his personal talisman, a Kaweco fountain pen: