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Filtering by Category: Paper

NANOWRIMO Materials, 2015

Fr. Kyle Sanders

Hey, everyone (if there's anyone left). It has been nearly five months since my last full post, which is way too long. I apologize. I don't do thee justice. Nevertheless, there is always time for renewal and starting afresh in this earthly life of ours. So I come to you again two days before the start of NANOWRIMO.

I have been participating in National Novel Writing Month three years running. My total number of words I wrote, over the three year period, didn't reach the coveted number of 50,000. I have tried short stories, a novel, and non-fiction. The intention of NANOWRIMO is to get us writers to write, to do away with our inner editor and just put down what's in our minds, as incoherent and ungrammatica asl it may be. It condenses a small novel (50k of words might be 3 chapters to George R.R. Martin) into a frantic period of writing, to stir creativity, since we have been trained by numerous teachers and college professors to produce our written work by a deadline. Deadlines direct and focus the writer, which is partly why you haven't read much from me as of late (shrug); I lost my writing rhythm and couldn't find the beat. So now I decide to step onto the empty dance floor to go all Kevin James in Hitch doing my thing without a care for what people think. 

Psychologically this is quite overwhelming. Fifty thousand words (putting numerals into words always helps) is quite a bit to write, especially when I'm used to writing in blog post and homily sized bits. Developing an idea or story over such a long span of writing seems insurmountable. I know it's not because I personally know people who have conquered it. But there are still lingering doubts. 

With all this in mind, I decided to slightly bend the traditional NANOWRIMO rules, which usually call you to write on one project. I chose to continue my current, or rather more comfortable, mode of writing, in short chunks. So I will switch between projects I'm working on, rotating through them. They are: this blog, my other blog, my homilies, and the non-fiction book I started last year on the theology of alcohol; 1,667 words per day on each subjext. Some days this might be more, other days it might be less. That length, however, isn't any longer than a long blog post. I think that is doable in my mind. I'm really excited about this and am looking forward to finally reaching that 50,00 word mark. 

Being that I am a stationary snob and certified pen addict (Brad Dowdy how is this not a thing). My long journey in words will take place on paper as opposed to screen. It starts with the instrument. I saw an add from Conklin a few weeks ago in the latest edition of Pen World about three new pens the company produced recalling models the company made in its heyday nearly a century ago. One of the pens in particular caught my eye. Although it is gimmicky, I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. A piston-filler, modern Conklin's first, the Word-Counter is, to my knowledge, unique among currently produced pens. It has, etched on the misty-yellow demonstrator barrel, levels to show how many words the pen has written through measuring the level of ink. This gives the writer some semi-scientific indication to the length of his writing. It seemed perfect for the NANOWRIMO endeavor. It says it holds approximately 5,000 words worth of ink, which would mean I'd be inking up the pen at the alarming rate of every three days. That's quite a bit of inking. 

I figured I would mark every filling with a different ink. This way variety can aid in inspiration. In monotony, I find difficulty. I chose nine inks to handle this, the whole course moving from dark and dull to bright and vibrant. I start the first three days with Aurora Black, a solid base on which to stand. Moving slightly off color, I will then turn to Private Reserve Ebony Purple, a self explanatory color, really. This will be followed by Diamine's Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue. These first nine days will cover a solid base of writing and gives me confidence to continue on. 

The next nine days starts with Sailor Jentle Epinard, which, although being a dark greeen, gives some sheen in comparison to the three previous matte colors. I will then enter the most difficult time in the NANOWRIMO month. I have chosen an ink to mirror the start of the dulling of my perception and the small ways in which, after approximately twenty thousand words, reality starts to waver, delirium not yet set in, but certainly walking up the street like a self-righteous proselytizer who perceives my weakening mind and body, this being Montblanc Meisterstück 90th Anniversary Permanent Grey. After which, I will fill in the grey hole with a matte, bright color reminiscent of leaves falling elsewhere in the country, Organics Studio F. Scott Fitzgerald. 

The final three days will grow in brightness, joy, and vibrancy. It starts with one of my favorite inks, which I will need after such a somber mind-month. Lamy Turquoise will brighten up my paper and give my writing some nice shades. With Organics Studio Nitrogen jumping up the vibrancy of the blue, my words will pop off the page. Hopefully, it will help words pop forth from my slowly tiring brain as well. To give me energy like that last cup of coffee at three in the morning the dawn a paper is due, I have chosen the inimitable J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen. A pink that, hopefully, will bring me to the finish line. 

You might have noticed I only choose nine inks approximately leading to only 27 days of writing leaving three days unaccounted for. After my experience of pencils during Lent, earlier this year, I have incorporated them into my rotation declaring Fridays as pencil days, coloring them with graphite alone. Four of the thirty days will be ferruled by the pencil. The pencils used will vary from mechanical to woodcased, whichever is closest when writing. My tastes there are not yet sharpened. 

This year, I have done something I've never done in my previous three years, through the inspiration of Johnny Gamber, of Pencil Revolution. I sat down and mapped out a basic plan of the topics I would cover in the various projects, recording them in over 30 pages of a Field Notes Shenandoah, leaving 18 pages for notes and other things. This will be my companion through this scribal pilgrimage. It will be my map and my odometer. With it, I have three other notebooks, my Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, each already assigned a task and therefore ramping up their workload for the month. I will continue using the Zequenz 360º from last year to expound on alcohol in a theological manner. I have been using and will continue to use as my homily prep notebook the Nock Co. A5 notebook, which has been covered by stickers. Finally, to develop my thoughts for both blogs I've been using, since May, the burgundy soft-cover and lined Monsieur Notebook. 

With all these tools on hand and a plan somewhat sketched, I feel more ready than ever to mount the heights of the Zion of post-modern writing, a NANOWRIMO win. 

Are any of you embarking on this NANOWRIMO journey? Let me know in the comments, we certainly need mutual encouragement. If you are, are you going analog or digital? If analog, what tools are you using?

Maruman Mnemosyne Imagination 180 Review

Fr. Kyle Sanders

I was going to give a talk to the youth group a year or so ago and found that the easy way to flip pages would be a top bound ring tablet. I wished there was a larger size of the Doane Paper large flap jotter. That would've been perfect, but alas an initial search proved fruitless. I emailed Brad Dowdy over at the Pen Addict asking if he had any recommendations. He recommended this Maruman tablet. I was a little wary because the flip was landscape and was looking for portrait, but I purchased it anyway. It would eventually get used. 


Maruman's Imagination series covers the full gamut of sizes, from small to large. I chose the A4 size, which is roughly the equivalents to the size of regular printer paper. This landscape style also comes in the A5 size.

It comes in two different ruling, blank and 5mm² graph paper. I'm not yet ready to jump into notebooks at this size without ruling so I chose the graph. The graph is aesthetically pleasing. The squared look gives it an enjoyable order, and the grey ink used keeps the pattern subtle. It doesn't jump off the page like the light blue of cheap looseleaf. 

The paper itself is off white. It does render the 'glare' of Clairefontaine a con, lending to the paper's subtlety. The paper was designed to foster writing by not getting in the way.

The only factor the separates itself as different is the heading block at the top of the page. It gives a space for the writer to title the page. At the opposite end, it gives the opportunity to date or number the page. 

Closed, this notebook looks like it can take some abuse, especially in a bag. The front cover is hard plastic that still retain pliability. It is stamped in gold emboss with the type of notebook. I enjoy the mismatch of fonts from the branding to the labeling. The back cover is hard cardboard.


This hard cardboard gives the writer a solid surface to write on, allowing this notebooks to be taken and used just about anywhere. You do not need a desk: a lap works just fine. At the same time, the 'backboard' retains some pliability, so it can be bent without breaking.

I had chosen this pad in hopes I could switch pages of notes for a talk quickly without having loose pages to fall and get mixed up. My earlier suspicion was confirmed, though. The landscape wouldn't work. I stowed it away amongst my other A4 pads for later use. I pulled it out to use it in a few blog posts (here and here), wherein it held up well with both pen and pencil. It's main use became the pad I would write out my homilies to deliver them. I use broad or stub nibs for that task so I needed both large rile and paper that could handle wet nibs. This pad fit the bill. The rule was perfect for my large print handwriting and the paper responds well to fountain pen ink. It showed shading and only slightly feathered with wetter inks or pens. If I were to writer like I do on a normal basis, though, the ruling would be too wide for my tastes. 

As for the landscape, for homilies, I ignored it. The title space became a margin, and I would write from top to bottom, instead of side to side (as I am right now). I prefer the top to bottom because I feel like I could use more of the notebook in double spacing.

Another great feature is that all 70 pages are perforated. This allowed me to tear out the pages I would use for my homilies. As I went through the notebook, there was this satisfaction that is was slowly getting smaller and thinner. The perforation itself is very clean and easy to tear. There are no 'jagged edges,' only clean lines, keeping with the pad's aesthetic.

The wire binding is solid. I have nightmare (only after inhaling too much Noodler's ink) of the wire binding of the old Mead notebooks, from high school. The wire would bunch up at the bottom compacting the notebook. It would cut holes in my backpack. The Maruman (which sounds eerily like the Christopher Lee character in Lord of the Rings, God rest his soul) binding is doubled and can handle extra abuse. I found only slight bending at the far left, or 'bottom,' of the wire. This could be the ultimate commuter's pad.

The last thing I would mention before looking at how pens faired would be that the grid is only on one side of the paper. If I was using it as a regular 'prose' notebook like I do with my journal notebooks this would be a problem because I use front and back. The paper can handle ink on both side so I don't understand the design move. The way I end up using it the blank side didn't matter. So take the thought or leave it. 

The paper handles pencils real well. It's not off-white to the degree that lead looses its readability. In fact, if I was a regular pencil user, I would really enjoy this paper, but, then again, I would want ruling on both sides. It handles ballpoint and gel pen inks well (I prefer smaller line widths in those so the cross-section is slightly skewed). It handled the two brush pens really well. I really like how the Kuretake looks when opened up on the paper. It handled my fountain pens and inks as well. There was no bleedthrough on any except one, and that exception, Noodler's Blue Nosed Bear in a semi-flex nib, is a 'paper killer.' No paper has withstood its flow, yet. There was feathering from the aformentioned giving my character fur, but there was also slight feathering from the Ina-Ho. The ghosting occurred in the calligraphy pen and the fountain pens, but since I only used one side it didn't matter to me. 


Despite the aforementioned commuter readiness, personally I found it difficult to use only because 1) I have a small lap 2) I have small hands 3) I have small handwriting. I couldn't walk around writing in this. It's the perfect size for a desk or a table though. 

The key to the pad lies in its writing experience. It doesn't have the synthetic glossiness of Clairefontine paper, but it's still very smooth, even with fine nibbed Japanese pens, which usually have a bit of scratchiness. It doesn't have a tooth either. It's a pleasure to write on this paper, especially with wide nibbed pens. I feel like I set the bar real high with my first paper review.


I purchased this pad at Jet Pens for $17.50, which is on the lower end of the price range of A4 notebooks at that retailer. On the whole, I consider it a good value. 

Is the Writing Reverenced?

Despite the fact that the notebook didn't fill the niche for which I purchased it, its quality far surpassed my initial expectations. I didn't feel bound (pun unintended) to the landscape. The feel of the paper and the subtlety of the graph have become the standard by which I judge. 


Pen: Pilot Fude-Makase Color Brush Pen - Extra Fine - Black

Atlanta Pen Show

Fr. Kyle Sanders

Here's a picture so you can mentally walk around with me from space to space. 

I planned on arriving at 10 AM, right at the beginning of the day, but as Myke Hurley, of the Pen Addict Podcast, and Jeff Bruckwicki, of Nock Co, found out, I'm not good at counting. I didn't factor in the time zone change, nor that there would be a traffic stopping accident on the interstate. So I arrived on the show floor just before noon. I missed some of the travelers who needed to get back for work the next morning. As my first interaction proved, this show was about the people, more than the pens. 

Obligatory selfie. 

Before I could even get to the show floor I ran into the Pen Addict himself, Brad Dowdy who was seated with his Nock Co. partner Jeff being interviewed by Pen World. I knew I was in the right place. They both gave me warm welcomes despite the obvious import of the interview for getting their little brand to the pen community that isn't on social media. I digress (it'll probably happen again). 

On finally arriving at the show, I see two people: my friend Andre, who lives in Atlanta and whom I helped ease into this hobby, and Myke, who was manning the table for Nock. After a few minutes conversation with Myke, Andre and I made our way over to Franklin-Christoph. As I said in the prep post, I was looking to replace my Model 29 Bellus that Erin now greatly enjoys. Come to find out, the model has been discontinued! What was a casual thought became a virtual necessity. When you are choosing from the end of stock of a discontinued pen, you don't have the luxury of options. All they had was the maroon body with the black clip-band. There was nothing more than for me to choose but the nib. I figured I shouldn't mess with what doesn't already work so I choose the same nib I gave away, a medium cursive italic ground by Mike Masuyama. The nib went over to Jim Rouse to be made sweet. I happened to get the final medium italic nib of the show (which came out of the tester pen.) While we were talking, we came upon the subject of pocket holy water dispensers. Parker, Esterbrook, and Sheaffer made models of holy water dispensers out of the popular pen models. Jim had found one at the Atlanta Pen show last year. I am currently on the lookout for any of those. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I got so caught up in conversations I didn't get a good scope of all the tables to see if one was there. Eventually, I will find one. 

Jim Rouse smoothing Andre's nib.

I went from there to introduce myself, in person, to Dan Bishop, the designer for Karas Kustoms. He had come to the show with his wife setting up a table with his machined wares. We joked around for a bit. (There was a Colonel Sanders look-a-like at the show.) I ended up completing my collection of his pens by picking up a Retrakt in two-tone, aluminum and grey.  

I quickly learned his table and the Nock table were the de facto meeting places for the Pen Addict community who had travelled to the show. I got to meet Jeff Abbot, Thomas Hall, and Leigh Reyes before they left to travel home. All three are people I wish I could've spent more time with, but it wasn't to be. I was struck that, in the 5 minutes we spent together how comfortable all three were despite having only online interaction. They greeted me as old friends. Although I was sad I missed the epic Nakaya party from the night before, their immediate hospitality assuaged me. It highlighted that this show was very different from Dallas. Dallas was about the pens. Atlanta was about the people. 

After saying hello/goodbye to them, I went into the second room to visit Lisa Vanness and her partner in crime, Wendy. Lisa has been busy most of the weekend because of her being the only American retailer that sells Sailor Bung Box and P.W. Akkerman inks. Lisa is an awesome woman. She has bubbly blonde curly hair and a warm personality that syncs well with her hair. What I like most is that she shoots things straight. If she likes something, she lets you know, if she doesn't, she lets you know that too. I find her honesty a delight in its somewhat incongruity with her bubbly personality. I guest I fear the falsity of bubbliness (Mean Girls). Okay, enough of Lisa's character study. It was great to see her.

 Like I said in the prep post I asked her to save two bottles of ink for me. They just started carrying two new-to-them lines of ink, the aforementioned Bung Box and an Italian brand named Califolio. I looked through their site and found two inks that I was ready purchase. For some reason I really like rusty inks and Califolio makes one called Itzamma. It comes in a triangular bottle like Diamine 150th Anniversary inks. The range of Bung Box is so vast that I had trouble settling on one (by choosing one I quelled the temptation to buy them all because that temptation is real). I ended up going with a green, Norwegian Wood. I like both the color and the Beatles reference. I am slowly amassing a collection of dark green so if you have any feel free to suggest. 

After Lisa and I caught up, she asked me about the Homo Sapiens Crystal I had purchased from her at the Dallas Pen Show. I had mentioned to her that the nib seemed scratchy, which wasn't what I remember from my experience of the Dreamtouch nib. I chalked it up (pun not intended) to the ink, but even with a new ink the pen didn't feel right. I brought it with me to the show hoping we could talk about it (I didn't tell her that ahead of time.) I wanted someone else to validate what I was experiencing, because I am still somewhat new to his (the blog is a prideful front of expertise). She wrote with it and agreed that is didn't feel right. So she decided to take it to the Visconti table. I watched over her table for a good 7-10 minutes. She arrived back with a brand new nib, and I subsequently turned into the wicked witch of the west when she lost her battle against water. Lisa had to do everything she could to keep me together so she didn't have to mop me up from the carpet. The nib now lives up to its name. I didn't think a writing experience could feel so good. I showed Brad the pen later on in the day, and he nearly got mad at me for adding another pen to his list. "Get this away from me,"  he said.

When I passed the Visconti table letter (at the behest of Lisa), I thanked them for the new nib. I found out there was a batch of nibs that had poor tipping. I was kind of disappointed at the slip in Visconti's quality control, but, on the same token, they didn't hide the mistake. They graciously replaced the nib (as a side note: I was also delighted to see the two Visconti reps, a guy and a girl, were around my age). 

 I also had to say hi to Ryan Krusac, the scrimshander and pen maker, and his partner in crime Brandon Lee, the Modern Choclatier. I got to briefly meet Ryan's wife at the end of the show. His children were playing around his table and his wife was complaing because one of them bought a few pens that were in need of restoration. It was great to hear the unbridled desire of a child to be like their father, and, on the other side, to see the parent look at the difficult reality of a very detail oriented hobby. I'm excited for the kid. The pens will be much more useful that a model airplane (admitted hobby bias). 

I moved on to the Cursive Logic table.  Linda had sent me an email asking to review her program before the Kickstarter ended, but I balked. I think a lot was going on, and I couldn't really do it justice. She showed me how the program works. It takes some of the concepts of calligraphy in letter creation and organization of strokes and applies them to regular handwriting. It focuses on four basic shapes, and from those shapes you can write the whole lowercase cursive alphabet. I got a book from her and hope to share it around with parents in my parish. 

 I walked around the room simply looking and staring at pens. I stopped a table filled with restored Parkers and Sheaffers. The guy behind the table, Nathaniel, asked me what I was looking for. I told him that truth: vintage pens scare me. I can't tell what is quality and what is not. He proceeded to give me a 20 minute lesson on different vintage pens and a few things to look for in seeing if there are cracks in the material or degradation of a filling system. I feel more confident now and will probably spend more time in vintage the next show I attend. (These thoughts will spurn a whole separate post because this thins is already long and if you're still reading thank you). 

I returned to the Karas table to watch Ana Reinert, of the Well Appointed Desk, and Kasey Kagawa (@punkey0 on Twitter) play with new inks. Ana is one cool cat (I'm pretty sure she's okay with me calling her that). Her interests aren't just in the stationary realm. We ended up talking soccer. I found out she's a part of US soccer history. I'll let her tell the story if you're interested. Kasey is one of those guys that knows not just a little bit about some things but a lot about a lot of things. He had information on far ranging topics from grooming, to beer, to food, to gamma ray saftey (maybe not so comic book-y but the science language was beyond me). I wish I would have had more time to spend with them just to hear them share their stories. 

One thing I must say, both Ana and Myke were left-handed. I had never seen a left hander use a fountain pen and know what to do. It was one of those things where I was both uncomfortable and fascinated in a brand new experience. Because of the nature of left-handedness, one can be scared at lending a fountain pen, but I had no qualms with either person. I would entrust all my pens to them before lending one to a newbie. It was little experiences like that that set this day and a half apart. 

As the show was packing up, I got some notebooks and a gift for a friend from Nock. My last purchase of the day though was of utmost importance. Since I had seen one on IG and then heard Myke talk about it on the podcast, I had to get the Retro 51 Swoosh which is a Tornado wrapped in basketball rubber with the pimples and black recessed lines. I've been a basketball fan for most of my life and to have a pen like that is pretty cool. It added to my growing collection of Retro 51's.  

I ended the show with some nib work by Mike Masuyama. There was a possibility because of my late arrival that I would not be able to get anything done, but due to Mike's incredible work rate I was able to get things in. Over the course of the year, I had found the nib that came on the Krusac pen I had gotten in Dallas had hard starts. I'm pretty sure it was baby's bottom. Mike smoothed it out and turned it into a much more enjoyable pen. It's now both good look at and nice to write with. Then, I asked him to grind the nib of my Giuliano Mazzuoli Moka Chiarracsuro in a needlepoint. It's such a small pen and the nib was subpar to the beauty and was way to wide. It didn't feel right. So now the line fits the size of the pen. I couldn't be happier. 

That night we talked pens but most of all we just talked. I knew they would be somewhat tired after full pen enthusiasm for over 48 hours. I enjoyed getting to know everyone. Pens brought us together, but growing friendship kept us together. Pens were the gateway, but friendship was the end. 

Kevin and I. I'm short. 

The party continued the next day where Myke, Kasey, and myself joined Jeff at the Nock shop. The three of us were free labor for a day helping just gather inventory from what was left after the show. I'm surprised Jeff trusted me to count after listening to me count poorly the day before. If you ordered something from Nock only be subsequently informed they were out of stock don't blame Jeff. It's probably my fault. While we were there, I picked up Nock's collaboration with Ti2 Design a tri-camo Techliner. I love the sound of the click of the magnet. Kevin Penley, of the Gear Compass, joined us for lunch from Hankook, which had this awesome calamari taco. 

The tiredness I had next two days was worth the time I get to meet and spend with these awesome people. So much so I totally forgot to take pictures. I'm looking forward to a full weekend next year. 

The whole loot minus the Swoosh (he didn't get the photo shoot memo)

Paper - My Rule of Thumb

Fr. Kyle Sanders

It had been too long since I've been here. I apologize. November took me by surprise. Hope this whets your whistle.

Paper has been one of the universal experiences of childhood before the onslaught of touch-screen phones and tablets. We colored on it. We practiced our alphabet on it. We did our homework on it. As we got older, we took tests on it and did reports on it. Paper was used as means to test the concept of flying and, mixed with a little spittle and a straw, became a comedic means to annoy someone from across the room. As I got older, my creative time, my writing was spent on the screen. I wrote high school papers on the family computer. I wrote my college essays on a laptop. More and more, I separated myself from the tactile experience of pen to paper.

That changed when I began writing with fountain pens. I realized that certain papers didn't respond well to the ink. So I began searching for good paper to enhance my writing experience. Paper I found was a lot cheaper than pens, as a general rule, so it seemed more justifiable to buy. The deeper down the rabbit hole I went the more of a workflow with my paper evolved. When I do a review of a specific notebook, it is because I am using, or have used, that notebook in a specific part of that workflow. Whether it is a good or bad experience, I will use every leaf (or just about). So without further ado, here is my rule of thumb. 

Daily Carry

When I have a back pocket, I carry with me a pocket journal. I have found these to be both incredibly useful and incredibly helpful. I was introduced to this style of notebook by Moleskine in their Cahier line, but I have since broadened my brand horizons. I use this notebook for exactly that: quick notes, things I want to remember, phone numbers, addresses, doodles, quotes from things I read, and book titles to be read in the future. I own a OneStarLeather cover which keeps the book in better condition due to the particular conditions of being next to my rear.   

Currently Using: Field Notes Northerly Edition

Bullet Journal

I am not the most organized person, and I have found the Bullet Journal system very helpful. (If you aren't familiar with it, go check it out.) I knew I needed a medium sized journal so the first three notebooks went in that direction: Moleskine Evernote Edition (I don't know why everything started with Moleskine. I blame Barnes & Noble), Rhodia Webnotebook, and a Leuchtturm 1917 medium size. The latter has been the best of the bunch so far. Unfortunately, I filled it with three months left in the year, so I chose a smaller one to finish out the year.

Currently Using: Field Notes Sciences Edition

The case is a This is Ground Mod

Blog Journal

I have turned to writing most of my thoughts by hand. That includes all my blog posts. I have been blogging since 2008. I maintain this one and another blog as well as being a contributor to a third blog. So I'm writing often. For about two years, all my blog rough drafts have gone into a journal before I transfer to whatever format I'm using. Physically writing takes longer and allows me to distill my thoughts much better than typing would.

Currently Using: Basic Clairefontaine Life. Unplugged Staple-bound

The Clairfontaine is the green one.

Homily Journal

In the same vein, I have another journal dedicated to homily preparation. This doesn't need to be a certain size. The notebook I'm using now was originally dedicated to something else, but I never used it so it has been rededicated, in the no-page-left-behind rule I have for myself.

Currently Using: Moleskine Ruled Hardcover Extra Large

TWSBI 580 for size comparison

Homily Delivery Paper

Then, just like my pens, I have a notebook set aside to write down the homily I will deliver. This is always a top staple-bound notebook because I need to be able to tear out the pages.

Currently Using: Rhodia Ice No. 18 Lined

Scratch Pads

I keep scratch pads in front of my office computer and in front on my home computer. They allow me to take quick notes and are very helpful with phone numbers and computer file names (especially photographs).

Currently Using:

Doane Paper Large Flap Jotter - Home

 Doane Paper Small Writing Pad - Office

Project Notebooks

Finally, I set aside notebooks for particular projects I'm working on at a certain time. These notebooks vary in size and shape and are determinded by the project. I keep a pocket notebook dedicated to show notes for a podcast I participate in. At the moment I have two other projects going on: NaNoWriMo novel (yeah, don't ask me how that went) and an altar server training video.

Currently Using:

Field Notes Red-Blooded Edition - Podcast

Moleskine Cahier - Altar Server Video

Zequenz 360º Lined - NaNoWriMo

Hopefully this gives you a good idea of my paper workflow. Next up will be how I choose and use my inks.

Pens: Kara's Kustom Ink  & Pilot E95s Fine Nib 
Ink: Schmidt P8126 Refill & Noodler's Antietam (respectively)
Paper: Doane Paper Small Writing Pad


Fr. Kyle Sanders

For the past two years, I have taken part in a writing phenomenon called NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Started in San Francisco about 10 years ago, this event is intended to force the hand of the wanna-be novelist. The goal is to write 50,000 words during the span of the month of November. It is a whirlwind of creativity. That number, seemingly arbitrary, is about the length of a short novel. Although it might only be the prologue of a George R.R. Martin novel, writing that amount is quite a feat (one which I have failed at two years running).

Most take on this endeavor with word processor and keyboard, but, as a pen person, I can't pass up the opportunity to use my toys. The last two years I have dedicated a pen, pad, and ink to this particular end. My Lamy 2000 and TWSBI Vac 700, both in fine nibs, together wrote 30,000 words (mind you that's 70,000 short of what they should have written), 10k and 20k respectively. The two previous years I used large 8 1/2 x 11 notebooks from Moleskine and Leuchtturm 1917.

My lineup this year is heavy on my Dallas Pen Show purchases. As with the two previous pens, I wanted something with a large ink capacity and a small nib. My Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic with Masuyama Needlepoint fits the bill. I can fill it as an eye-dropper with Iroshizuku Kon-Peki, and it'll hopefully write for days without needing filling. It will be kept snug and safe in my Bas & Lokes "Reynolds" Leather pen case.

I decided to go with a smaller notebook this year because those large notebooks were too unwieldy for me and weren't a delight to write in. The Zequenz 360° lined notebook in A5 size is perfect. It can supposedly bend any which way, and it has 400 pages to take in all 50,000 words (hopefully). I've been using a pocket sized version of the notebook for the novel prep, and I've been enjoying the paper.

Now that I've gotten all my material you're probably wondering the topic of my novel. Well, I'm not writing a novel per se but a work of theology and philosophy of utmost seriousness. I hope to expound on the theology of alcohol. 

I do hope to incorporate my blog writing both here and elsewhere into the word count (a little bit of a cheater, but I'm still writing 50,000 words!), but my posting frequency might lessen some due to output elsewhere. 

Dallas Pen Show - Day 2

Fr. Kyle Sanders

Me and Ms. Vanness hiding behind the Akkerman

Me and Ms. Vanness hiding behind the Akkerman

I didn't think it could get any better than day one, but now that I had scoped out everything. I made a game plan for day two. 

- visit the Edelstein's, whom I had met the night before

- get a Ryan Krusac pen. 

- bid on Retro 51's in the auction

- if the budget allows, get a Shawn Newton pen

I started the day with my Hawaiian shirted buddy. He had sold one of his nice pens and had already replaced it with a gorgeous Visconti Divina. He allowed me to test the nib and try out a pen, that for me at least, would be out of the question. It reminded me however of the day before. I had spotted another grail pen of mine, the Visconti Homo Sapiens Crystal. He and I got to talking about that pen, about Visconti Dreamtouch Nibs, and he let me know that our now mutual friend Lisa Vanness had one in stock at her store in Little Rock. The pen costed a bit more than the Dolce Vita, but I decided it would be worth the extra expense, because I probably wouldn't get one otherwise. After our conversation (he might have sold me on it) I was determined to get the Crystal. 

Geha (right) Sheaffer (left)

Geha (right) Sheaffer (left)

On my way to Lisa, I stopped by the Edelstein's table. The elder took me through their bargain boxes and I found three pens for $60. One was for a friend (can't reveal that because he hasn't received it yet). One was an old Sheaffer Calligraphy pen, and the final was a lesser know German pen called Geha, who made neat little piston filler pens. All three pens were great little buys. The Geha is surprisingly smooth. The Edelstein's bread and butter, though, were vintage Parkers in good condition. I haven't reached that level of collector. 


I moved from them to Ms. Vanness. The previous day was a good day for her, and overnight her husband had driven from Little Rock to deliver more ink. They are the only American retailer of P.W. Akkerman ink and people flock to her to get the bottles before they're sold out. She confirmed that she had the pen at the store and ... I bought it. I actually bought it. I never though I would go for such an expensive pen, but I found myself giving her my money. I got a bottle of Diamine Mediterranean Blue to compliment the pen. The ink would be the celebratory ink of a new stage in the fountain pen journey. I'm afraid this might have opened a door to getting a Nakaya. 

Unfortunately, that purchase ruled out the possibility of a getting one of Shawn Newton's pens. However, he had this really cool pen that was mostly black, with a marbled black and white grip that brought you a nice surprise when you uncapped the pen. I told him if he could get a yellow and black material I would buy that pen. So, hopefully, if you continue reading, you will eventually see that on the blog. 

I had already made up my mind to get a pen from Ryan Krusac. Ryan, from the Atlanta area, turns pens made of rare woods and of harvested naturally shed elk antler. The elk antler pens were especially beautiful due to the scrimshaw work in them. Over the two days, Ryan and I shared some things about our lives, and we even had a connection of a particular crater lake north of Lake Granada in Nicaragua, that for him held special significance. We have some good conversations about mission trips. The first day, there were three of his pens that stuck out to me. I told him I would sleep on it. The one I decided on was the scrimshaw one depicting a ship in a tempest, which reminded me of Scripture and the Sea of Galilee. It has a good weight to it due to the metalware but as I quickly found out it suffers the smudge of inky fingers, so I will have to be very careful with it. It is definitely a display pen, but I don't buy a pen that won't be used. 


Ryan came to the show accompanied by his best friend, who is a chocolatier. He paired some of his chocolates with some of Ryan's pens. Although I didn't go that route, he had some delicious flavors of chocolate: French Roast Coffee (which brought me back home in an instant), Irish Stout (it felt like biting into Guinness), and Mango with chili pepper. I definitely got some. 

I ended my floor purchasing at the Anderson's. I wanted some silicone grease to convert the Franklin-Christoph to an eyedropper. I had also eyed a notebook on their table I could use for NANOWRIMO this year that had nearly 400 pages. It's an Italian company called 360° and supposedly it can be bended every which way. I will definitely put it through the ringer in November. Finally, at the very beginning of the show, while the Anderson's were still setting up, I noticed one of the new pens from Pilot, the pocket pen E95. I love pocket pens and at the price with a gold Pilot nib I couldn't pass it up. 

You might notice there was one thing left on my original list, a special edition Retro 51. Retro didn't have any on display at their table, but they did donate two to the silent auction which benefited the Dallas Pen Club and the continuation of the show. One was an old Retro 51 Abbondanza. The appeal of this pen was its box which is made of bamboo and displays the pen nicely when opened. The other pen was a special edition of 200 pieces the Double 8. It has a gold trim and tortoiseshell celluloid with eight facets. It seems to me very Omas-like, and definitely fits Retro 51's slogan "Life is too short to carry an ugly pen." I was able, with some bid lurking, to win both pens. All in all, I felt my first show was a success. I got some pens, but more importantly I made some new friends.

The whole quarry. The Abbondanza is on the left. The Double 8 is on the top. The E60 is on the bottom. 

The whole quarry. The Abbondanza is on the left. The Double 8 is on the top. The E60 is on the bottom. 

Petals and Puddles

Fr. Kyle Sanders

So as promised. This is a the first in series called Ink Haikus. Hope you enjoy


Petals of an hibiscus

floating on ripples

reflecting a summer sky


Pen: Edison Nouveau Premiere 2014 Summer Edition Fine Nib

Ink: J. Herbin Rose Cyclamen

Paper: Doane Paper Flap Jotter

Dallas Pen Show - Day 1

Fr. Kyle Sanders


Welcome to my newest online abode, Reverenced Writing. It was not my intention to start this blog off with my thoughts on the Dallas Pen Show, but that is what has happended. 

I had heard about pen shows before and I was excitd to experience one. The place of the Cowboys and George W. Bush seemed a likely market for fine pens. I found the Dallas Pen Club, who hosts the show, to be a vibrant pen community with 30 or so active memebers with total memebership being towards 90. It also helped to have a local pen company like Retro 51 sponsor the show. 

It had been recommended that I come with two things: a budget and a list. I saved up money for about six months and had a few things in mind: 

- a Franklin-Christoph Ice pen (what size and nib I would decide at the show)

- a Franklin-Christoph sugar paper notebook

- an Esterbrook (something my collection lacked) 

- a Delta Dolce Vita (that orange seemed too stunning to pass up) 

- a special edition Retro 51 (I figured they would bring things to the show one couldn't get easily on the open market) 

A view of the show

A view of the show

This list was in my mind, but all I can tell you is a list is of no good if you aren't faithful to it, because a pen show, for a pen addict, is sort of like setting a shoe-a-holic in the closet of Imelda Marcos. There is so much to choose from; you just don't know what to choose. There are so many beautiful pens, so many unique objects. Oh, I've only seen this pen in pictures! "Can I pick it up?" I just picked up an $8,000 pen, and no one yelled at me. What is this place of wonder? Am I in a dream? Did you just let me write with this pen which costs more than a used car? Wait they still make that pen? This pen is seriously older than my dad. I felt like a squirrel running around a grove of oak trees. I can't put all the acorns in my mouth! Noooooooooo!

Confession: everytime I told someone this was my first pen show they asked the same question, "Are you overwhlemed?" I said "no" every time, but looking back, yes, I was completely and utterly overwhelmed. 

As I continue along with my story, there grew two interwoven lines: the people and the pens. Part of a pen show is the many pens to look at, try, and, for the vendors, hopefully purchase. The other part is the people, the pen community as a whole who have gathered here to proliferate pen culture. So through my story, I hope to share both with you.  

Shawn Newton and his wife

Shawn Newton and his wife

I started the day in the near manic state explained above. What brought me back down to earth was the people. I met ever so briefly the Anderson's whose podcast I enjoy. I met a nice genletman from Retro 51. I introduced myself to the Little Rock contigent of Lisa Vanness, of Vanness pens, and Shawn Newton, who makes his own beautiful pens. I returned back to them often for great conversation. I also connected with a man whose name I cannot recall, but who wore Hawaiian shirts the whole weekend. He was kind and open enough to share his booty everytime I walked by his table. The surprise though was as I walked into the area where the silent auction was held, right outside the show itself, I saw a familiar sight, a Saints jersey. One of the Dallas Pen Club members was originally from New Orleans. She made me feel at home in a place dominated by Cowboys fans.

Walking around I found quite a few sellers with Esterbrooks. I found the Franklin-Christoph table. I saw a small number of Dolce Vitas at two different tables. The Dolce Vita has been a  grail pen for a long time. The orange reminded me of close images of the sun, dynamic, luminescent, and untameable. Then I picked up the pen and, despite its attractiveness, it had eveything that turns me off to a pen. It was too wide for my small hands. It's grip wasn't terribly comfortable. It's girth and weight outweighed its beauty and price. So it moved from a grail pen to if-I-win-the-lottery pen. So early on the in the first day, I had this freedom of budget that took me searching. What will replace the Dolce Vita? 

Mr. Masuyama with an audience 

Mr. Masuyama with an audience 

At the beginning of the day, I signed up in Mike Masuyama's line for him repair some of my pens. I had been gifted a Montblanc 146 which was evidently from the 70's or so, but had a replacement cap. It wouldn't write. My first Vanishing Point had suffered the fate of a heavy handed newbie, whom I had lent the pen to, and who had written with it as if it were an ornery ballpoint. The page turned Jackson Pollock and the pen never wrote the same. Finally, I had an Aurora that wrote dry, too much so for my tastes. Mid-afternoon, Mr. Masuyama ressurected these pens into working order.

I also had a Parker Challenger I had purchased from a friend that had a misaligned nib. Next to Mr. Masuyama (he had already left by the time I took the above picture), a gentleman named Danny Fudge was repairing older pens. He graciously realigned the nib in under a minute for no charge. 

While I waited my turn to see Mike, I passed by the Franklin-Christoph table. They had a whole case filled with tester pens. I tried out quite a few nibs and settled on Mr. Masuyama's needlepoint nib. I had to decide whether to go with the pocket sized Model 40 or the regular sized 02 Model in the ice color. I found I preferred the larger of the two pens. It fit better in my hand. I also picked up another for a friend with the 1.5 mm nib. Scott Franklin himself tuned both nibs to perfection. The deal was capped off with a notebook and an extra nib, their new music nib. 

the Franklin-Christoph table

the Franklin-Christoph table

Myself with Dr. Bob and Jill Nisbet

Myself with Dr. Bob and Jill Nisbet

After Mr. Masuyama's nib wizardry, I roamed around going into deeper research on the available Esterbrooks. Quite a few tables had them at varying prices, so I dove deeper into the colors and the nibs. I was attracted to the ice-blue or blueish purple color with ripples. As for a nib, I was hoping for their accounting nib, but certainly would settle for anything fine. Here is where the fountain community both humbles and amazes me. I got talking with a lady, Jill, who had traveled with her husband, Dr. Bob, from Oklahoma. He had amassed a collection and was selling some of it. Much of his table was covered with Esterbrooks. We got talking about life, faith, and pens. He asks me which color I like. We search through the the table for the bluish color. We find our quarry, so he asks what nib I would enjoy. I said, "Something firm and fine." The nib already installed fit those parameters, but he provided another nib just a bit finer than the first. Certainly, they would characterize most of the dealers at the show in helpfulness and kindness, but he outdid himself in generosity. "Take it," he said, "it would be my honor." I am always uncomfortable with such generosity, so I attempted to resist, but to no avail. He gave me the pen and the nib. This is one reason why I love this community, because the community itself is more important the thing that brought them together.

I spent the closing hour of the first day of the show with my new Hawaiian shirted friend, who showed me his finds from day one and I showed him mine. There was a pen in his table I had been eyeing since our first conversation at the beginning of the day, an Eversharp Skyline. Those pens are made very well and many times have semi-flex nibs. This one did. There was a lite bit of wear on the cap, but the pen was well worth the price.  So I came back to my hotel room with:

Most of the quarry

Most of the quarry

- a Franklin-Christoph sugar paper notebook

- 2 Franklin-Christoph Model 02s

- an Eversharp Skyline with semi-flex nib 

-  an Esterbrook (with extra nib)

- 3 resurrected pens courtesy of Mike Masuyama (2 pictured)

-Realigned Parker Challenger

The day didn't end there. My fellow New Orleanian invited me to dinner with some of the Dalls Pen Club and the Edelstein's, a father and son duo of venders. I had a great time talking pens, sports, public radio (a topic I was admittedly weak in) and priests who were in the fountain community. It was a great way to end day one and great way to set up day two.