Obligatory 2021 Recap
Raw numbers from 2021:
- I bought 14 new (to me) fountain pens in 2021, along with three Lamy nibs. This, despite writing a year ago that “In 2021 I’ll budget enough for a good fountain pen or two …” Was two a typo and I meant fourteen? They do share two letters.
- I don’t do a good job of tracking pens that leave my accumulation. But, based on PayPal transactions I sold 19 fountain pens and 8 Retro 51 rollerballs.
- The Fountain Pen Quest had 35K visitors and 72K page views, if WordPress stats are to be believed. This is down from last year, only 2019 was lower than this number. The best year was 2015 with just shy of 80K visitors and a quarter million views.
- I published 67 posts, most of them were the Sunday Trail Logs.
- While search engines sent the most visitors, the Pen Addict and Gentleman Stationer were the sites with the most referrals. Thanks Brad and Joe!
- It was no surprise that most readers are from the U.S., with the U.K. and Canada a distant second and third. Spain is fourth, and the highest ranked non-majority english speaking country.
Favorite Fountain Pen of 2021
Variety is the spice of life! If I had to pick one pen, I think it would be last year’s runner up, the Kanilea Pen Co. Cherry Kona. I’m fickle, and last year’s favorite, while still a joy to use, doesn’t hold the top spot.
When I did the book transcription for November’s NaNoWriMo I picked a fountain pen and wrote with it until it was empty, then moved on. I didn’t allow re-inking any pen for the entire month. I continued this practice through December, and I didn’t repeat a pen until last week. I really enjoyed using a variety of pens, each for an extended period of time. Although, I’m now switching between a few inked pens as I try to beak the mindset of writing fast to empty a pen asap.
By the time December began I had about a dozen pens that I really enjoyed using.
There’s definitely recency bias, but my newest pen, the Pilot Elite Pocket pen is the one I’m now most eager to re-ink and use some more.
Most Disappointing Fountain Pen of 2021
Lamy 2000 with an oblique medium nib. I thought my favorite nib type could help me enjoy this classic pen. I tried to make it my journal pen, but that didn’t help. Regular use only made it less enjoyable. The pen was both bought and sold in 2021. The Lamy 2000 just isn’t a pen for me, no matter how much I wanted it to be.
I replaced NaNoWriMo with NaNoTraMo where I transcribed, rather than wrote a novel in November I continued this in December and wrote 79 pages. This compares to 96 pages in November. It’s become a habit and the one day I missed it felt incomplete. While it was fewer pages in November, I was more consistent in writing 30 out of 31 days, compared to only 25 out of 30 in November.
Since I don’t have a word goal to reach, I need to slow down and work to improve my writing. While I don’t have a word count goal, I find myself wanting to write a pen dry, which keeps me from slowing down to work on my penmanship. I get a thrill out of writing a pen dry. It’s a big motivator for me. Going into January I want to concentrate more on improving my penmanship, which will mean fewer pages and fewer empty pens.
I don’t make resolutions, so that’s not what these are. But my plans for 2022 are:
- Don’t buy any new pens. Use and enjoy what I have. I did a lot of writing in November and used a lot of pens, at least for me. This is likely to fail, so I have guidelines below for when the inevitable happens.
- Write reviews for the pens I’m using. Most of my current pens don’t have reviews, at most they have first impressions.
I do have problems with absolutes like “Don’t buy any pens,” so I set the following rules for when I break that rule:
- I must sell one core pen before buying a new pen AND the money to purchase the pen must come from 2022 pen sales. So, it may be necessary to sell multiple pens.
- The requirement that at least one core pen must leave my accumulation is dropped when my core pen count is at a dozen or less. The requirement to sell at least one pen, and fund the purchase with pen sales remains.
- I’ve gotten away from requiring a pen to spend a couple weeks on my wanted list before acquiring it. That list needs to return.
Current Reads, Watches & Listens
Reading: Djiboutu by Elmore Leonard. I gave up on this one. Kobo said I read (actually transcribed) 5% of it, still in the second chapter. Leonard is know for his dialog, but in this book it annoyed me. One character dropped all the g‘s in words ending with ing. He also dominated the dialog. I had so little interest in the story, which seems to lack any focus, that I fixated on this. I also like that his books usually get right to the story, with little exposition. So far, it’s been all exposition focused around two characters. 1 out of 5 stars. (Zero wouldn’t record as a rating and I don’t do partial stars, so 1 star is as bad as it gets.)
Reading: The Fallen by David Baldacci. The fourth installment in his Memory Man series. I gave this 3 out of 5 stars. (although it’s the highest rated Memory Man book on Goodreads.) It’s a bit convoluted with a bunch of despicable human beings as characters in a messed up town. The ending wasn’t much of a mystery. Still, a good read. If this had been the first book of the series that I read I wouldn’t have read any of the others.
Reading: Redemption by David Baldacci. The fifth installment in his Memory Man series. I was still waiting for some library holds to free up, and I didn’t feel like searching for a book, so I just continued on with the series. I usually pick a palate cleanser between books in a series. I probably should have done that here. About 30% of the way through the book and my reaction is “Meh – more of the same.”
Listening: Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. Book one of The Expanse. I just bought the final (eighth) book in the series, but decided to re-listen from book 1 before I listen to it. (I have them on audio books.)
Out of Rotation
- Pilot Custom 912, Black (Posting) – I found it notable that I had to prime the feed once while using the pen.
- Pilot Elite Steel Lined Pocket Pen (F) – I was shocked that this small, light and thin pen was comfortable to use for extended writing sessions. It had its turn as the pen I used for the book transcription.
- Pilot Custom 823 (F) – An aesthetically displeasing pen for me, but a great and comfortable writer. Made perfect with the Montblanc Bordeaux ink that I filled it with.
- Sailor King of Pen, Royal Tangerine (O.M.) – My last remaining KOP. Filled with a Shikiori Miruai ink cartridge. I wanted a unique color for my wide nib. At least wide relative to the other inked pens. I’ll use it for headings, along with longer sit-down writing sessions.
- TWSBI Swipe, Prussian Blue (EF) – Sheaffer Red is the first ink for this pen. I wanted a color suitable for marking up a document.
- Kaweco AL-Sport, Raw Aluminum (EF) – this pen hasn’t been used in over 3 years (second fiddle to the Brass Sport in the days when I wanted a pocket fountain pen). I filled it with the Caran d’Ache Vibrant Green cartridge that failed to work In the Retro 51.
- Esterbrook (Kenro) Estie Oversized Seaglass (F) – I needed a black or blue-black ink, so this I popped in a Caran d’Ache Carbon Black cartridge.
Two week’s worth of links. Some writers were exceptionally productive at year’s end. I arbitrarily limited myself to two links per site, so check the websites for other recent posts.