Tools of the Trade

Christine_de_pisan Susan Sarah here … deep in a writing mode, hurtling toward an autumn deadline, and sitting here staring at a stack of mostly-filled yellow legal pads and a plethora of pens on her desk….

I have an assortment of pens – fountains and ballpoints, rollerballs, gel pens, felt tip, calligraphy pens with boxes full of nibs, even quills. I have fancy holders and spare coffee mugs full of them, and drawers with trays full of them, a myriad of sizes and styles and colors. A lot of them ought to be tossed; they’re dried out, or I never liked them much in the first place, or I liked them so much that I intend to find the right refill someday. When my kids were little I would sometimes give them the job of sorting the plethora of pens and tossing the ones that didn’t work. They would have a blast scribbling away on big sheets of paper, tossing the dried-out markers, the pens that skipped, the pens that globbed, the empty pens that had no ink cartridge or refill inside, and so on.

And I have a wide assortment of pencils, too, in various shapes and types and colors—pencils always come in handy for editing, and it’s especially wise to have a zillion pencils because I never know what color pencil the copyeditor will have used on my manuscript….

Usually the CE uses red, but sometimes it’s purple, blue, or green, while the editor uses plain graphite pencil. It’s up to the author to come up with yet another color to differentiate from their penciled “voices” on the pages. Oh joy! I get to go through the colored pencils and try every one of them! Oh, that red one’s too hard, this blue one’s too soft, I don’t have three or four of the purple, and the green is too faint, and look! Here’s a purple that’s Just Right (it’s amazing how many colored pencils one can wear out on a 400-page, moderately copyedited manuscript).

I have pen-lust, and pencil-lust too, along with paper lust, and of course, that weakness so many of us are susceptible to: demon booklust. For today let’s look at The Pen: what is it about the writing instrument that can make a writer’s heart go pitty-pat?

Preraph It’s the tool of our trade, after all, more so than keyboards or computers. It’s putting pen or pencil to paper that makes that connection, facilitates that spark. And people have been putting pen to paper, or stylus to wax, or brush to hide and quill to parchment for as long as people have been around. We are, as humans, compelled to express ourselves in various ways, and making signs on a surface to represent our thoughts is one of the most basic ways we have to let those thoughts wing outward so others can catch them and make what they will of them.

Scribe_2 Pens began more than likely as reeds dipped in ink of some sort, and applied to a support of some kind. The ancients used reeds or brushes with ink of some kind (made from plants, berries, acorns, oak gall, iron salts, even snails – who discovered this stuff in the first place is what I’d like to know) — and a stylus made of bone or metal was a popular method of writing as well, when dragged in soft wax spread on a wooden tablet, as the Romans did, and the Anglo-Saxons as well (who no doubt learned it from the Romans). Egyptian scribes would chew the ends of sharpened reeds to soften them enough to hold ink long enough to write a few words, then chew and dip again. Yum.

Quill_pen The quill pen was first used around the 5th or 6th century – though it seems logicalMetsu_man_writing_a_lletter  enough that I wouldn’t be surprised if it was used even earlier. The best quills were made from the flight feathers of swans and geese, taken from the left wing for the best curve in the central shaft (and from the right wing for left-handed scribes, if they hadn’t had the sinister left-handedness beaten out of them!).

Quills provided a marvelous writing tool, Vermeer_woman_writing_letter though the ends needed frequent cutting and sharpening with a knife, sometimes dozens of times a day if there was a lot of writing or copying of manuscripts going on. The quill met most writing needs for centuries, until finally in the 18th century fine metal nibs of brass and then steel were created and attached to the feathers.

Waterman Fountain pens are my personal favorite. I have several. I used to dip them in ink bottles years ago, and then gave in to easy pop-in cartridges. I love the smell of the ink, and I love the way the ink flows with a good pen — at times a fountain pen has a certain magic that seems to encourage the writing to flow right along with it… Fountain pens were first invented in the late 19th century by Lewis Waterman (I have several of his pens, okay, his descendants’ pens), and around the turn of the century, someone thought up the ball point pen, which weren’t terribly popular or affordable until WWII, when they came in very handy out in the field (I did my research for this blog and found out some interesting bits of trivia!).

And after that followed Bic pens (the Frenchman Bich came up with a cheaply produced ball point), and the Japanese thought up the felt-tip, and then it was onward in triumph to roller balls and gel tips and pens that write upside-down, in water and in outer space….

And I think I have an incarnation of each of them in my desk drawer, all in a glorious jumble of writing tools. Maybe because I was an art major for years, I respond to pens and colors, to the feel of the writing tool in the hand, and the connection between hand and brain, mind and imagination channeled down through ink and nib.

I’ll be loyal to a pen for a very long time, and then discover another, a newer, design or kind, and then I turn fickle. Right now I’m wearing out Pilot G-2s like crazy, in every color (they have minis! I love them!)…..

IWoman_writer_19th_c f you, too, are addicted to good writing tools, what’s your favorite pen? And do you, too, make an utter fool of yourself in a stationery store, or even the back-to-school aisle of your local superstore?

~Susan Sarah

110 thoughts on “Tools of the Trade”

  1. All my favorite pens get stolen by the students I work with in the library, bless their black little hearts, so I make do with pens I’ve stolen from motels and hotels. When I buy them,I’m very fond of fine-line pens—blue— and have a little art supply collection of watercolor pencils that I can hold far steadier than brushes now.

    Reply
  2. All my favorite pens get stolen by the students I work with in the library, bless their black little hearts, so I make do with pens I’ve stolen from motels and hotels. When I buy them,I’m very fond of fine-line pens—blue— and have a little art supply collection of watercolor pencils that I can hold far steadier than brushes now.

    Reply
  3. All my favorite pens get stolen by the students I work with in the library, bless their black little hearts, so I make do with pens I’ve stolen from motels and hotels. When I buy them,I’m very fond of fine-line pens—blue— and have a little art supply collection of watercolor pencils that I can hold far steadier than brushes now.

    Reply
  4. All my favorite pens get stolen by the students I work with in the library, bless their black little hearts, so I make do with pens I’ve stolen from motels and hotels. When I buy them,I’m very fond of fine-line pens—blue— and have a little art supply collection of watercolor pencils that I can hold far steadier than brushes now.

    Reply
  5. All my favorite pens get stolen by the students I work with in the library, bless their black little hearts, so I make do with pens I’ve stolen from motels and hotels. When I buy them,I’m very fond of fine-line pens—blue— and have a little art supply collection of watercolor pencils that I can hold far steadier than brushes now.

    Reply
  6. Hey! I’ve ALWAYS loved unique pens and pencils (How many young teenagers spend their hard-earned money on a calligraphy set?)… but I never thought about it being a writer’s thing. Maybe because I didn’t discover I was a writer until two years ago…

    Reply
  7. Hey! I’ve ALWAYS loved unique pens and pencils (How many young teenagers spend their hard-earned money on a calligraphy set?)… but I never thought about it being a writer’s thing. Maybe because I didn’t discover I was a writer until two years ago…

    Reply
  8. Hey! I’ve ALWAYS loved unique pens and pencils (How many young teenagers spend their hard-earned money on a calligraphy set?)… but I never thought about it being a writer’s thing. Maybe because I didn’t discover I was a writer until two years ago…

    Reply
  9. Hey! I’ve ALWAYS loved unique pens and pencils (How many young teenagers spend their hard-earned money on a calligraphy set?)… but I never thought about it being a writer’s thing. Maybe because I didn’t discover I was a writer until two years ago…

    Reply
  10. Hey! I’ve ALWAYS loved unique pens and pencils (How many young teenagers spend their hard-earned money on a calligraphy set?)… but I never thought about it being a writer’s thing. Maybe because I didn’t discover I was a writer until two years ago…

    Reply
  11. Ha! I told my husband I wasn’t nuts! I’m fascinated with pens too. I like the pretty ones but if they’re too heavy they have to go. Right now I’m really liking the “cheapo” Bic Ultra pens but soon I’ll need something a bit sharper and off to the pen store I go!

    Reply
  12. Ha! I told my husband I wasn’t nuts! I’m fascinated with pens too. I like the pretty ones but if they’re too heavy they have to go. Right now I’m really liking the “cheapo” Bic Ultra pens but soon I’ll need something a bit sharper and off to the pen store I go!

    Reply
  13. Ha! I told my husband I wasn’t nuts! I’m fascinated with pens too. I like the pretty ones but if they’re too heavy they have to go. Right now I’m really liking the “cheapo” Bic Ultra pens but soon I’ll need something a bit sharper and off to the pen store I go!

    Reply
  14. Ha! I told my husband I wasn’t nuts! I’m fascinated with pens too. I like the pretty ones but if they’re too heavy they have to go. Right now I’m really liking the “cheapo” Bic Ultra pens but soon I’ll need something a bit sharper and off to the pen store I go!

    Reply
  15. Ha! I told my husband I wasn’t nuts! I’m fascinated with pens too. I like the pretty ones but if they’re too heavy they have to go. Right now I’m really liking the “cheapo” Bic Ultra pens but soon I’ll need something a bit sharper and off to the pen store I go!

    Reply
  16. I write with fountain pens, using ink cartridges. When doing longhand drafts, no other writing instrument can keep up with my racing brain the way a fountain pen does!
    I have a blue and gold Waterman Le Lady with blue ink for “special use”, given to me by my husband for my birthday years ago.
    For everyday use I rely on my maroon-bodied Parker with black ink.
    I use them for editing ms. drafts as well.

    Reply
  17. I write with fountain pens, using ink cartridges. When doing longhand drafts, no other writing instrument can keep up with my racing brain the way a fountain pen does!
    I have a blue and gold Waterman Le Lady with blue ink for “special use”, given to me by my husband for my birthday years ago.
    For everyday use I rely on my maroon-bodied Parker with black ink.
    I use them for editing ms. drafts as well.

    Reply
  18. I write with fountain pens, using ink cartridges. When doing longhand drafts, no other writing instrument can keep up with my racing brain the way a fountain pen does!
    I have a blue and gold Waterman Le Lady with blue ink for “special use”, given to me by my husband for my birthday years ago.
    For everyday use I rely on my maroon-bodied Parker with black ink.
    I use them for editing ms. drafts as well.

    Reply
  19. I write with fountain pens, using ink cartridges. When doing longhand drafts, no other writing instrument can keep up with my racing brain the way a fountain pen does!
    I have a blue and gold Waterman Le Lady with blue ink for “special use”, given to me by my husband for my birthday years ago.
    For everyday use I rely on my maroon-bodied Parker with black ink.
    I use them for editing ms. drafts as well.

    Reply
  20. I write with fountain pens, using ink cartridges. When doing longhand drafts, no other writing instrument can keep up with my racing brain the way a fountain pen does!
    I have a blue and gold Waterman Le Lady with blue ink for “special use”, given to me by my husband for my birthday years ago.
    For everyday use I rely on my maroon-bodied Parker with black ink.
    I use them for editing ms. drafts as well.

    Reply
  21. Pen lust is such a funny thing, but I think it is a universal writer thing. All the years I spent in creative writing programs backs that theory up. We all had a certain kind of pen (or pencil) that somehow made us more creative. For me it was Le Pen, those skinny little felt-tips. I always have them in at least three colours, but often in five or even ten. LOL!

    Reply
  22. Pen lust is such a funny thing, but I think it is a universal writer thing. All the years I spent in creative writing programs backs that theory up. We all had a certain kind of pen (or pencil) that somehow made us more creative. For me it was Le Pen, those skinny little felt-tips. I always have them in at least three colours, but often in five or even ten. LOL!

    Reply
  23. Pen lust is such a funny thing, but I think it is a universal writer thing. All the years I spent in creative writing programs backs that theory up. We all had a certain kind of pen (or pencil) that somehow made us more creative. For me it was Le Pen, those skinny little felt-tips. I always have them in at least three colours, but often in five or even ten. LOL!

    Reply
  24. Pen lust is such a funny thing, but I think it is a universal writer thing. All the years I spent in creative writing programs backs that theory up. We all had a certain kind of pen (or pencil) that somehow made us more creative. For me it was Le Pen, those skinny little felt-tips. I always have them in at least three colours, but often in five or even ten. LOL!

    Reply
  25. Pen lust is such a funny thing, but I think it is a universal writer thing. All the years I spent in creative writing programs backs that theory up. We all had a certain kind of pen (or pencil) that somehow made us more creative. For me it was Le Pen, those skinny little felt-tips. I always have them in at least three colours, but often in five or even ten. LOL!

    Reply
  26. I always have a favorite type of writing instrument, but it changes from time to time. For a while it was mechanical pencils, but then I found some clear-pink plastic fountain pens in the gift shop at the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, only 3 pounds 50 each, and now I’m addicted to those, along with cartridges of J. Herbin ink, which comes in a variety of really yummy colors. I’ve got some more expensive fountain pens, too; I got myself a Mont Blanc when I sold the magnum opus, but it’s Too Good To Use (this is my mother’s fault; she was saving the good towels for when somebody really Important came to visit, such as the Pope–and we weren’t even Catholic!). I also have some gorgeous notebooks and one day, when my neuroses miraculously go away, I will start writing in them. I am Getting Better; once upon a time I compulsively saved every scrap of paper, reams of stuff that had only been used on one side (oh dear, this is very embarrassing), but now I actually Dispose of all that kind of thing. Thank God for recyling, that’s all I can say; otherwise there would be so much paper in my house I would have to move to a motel.

    Reply
  27. I always have a favorite type of writing instrument, but it changes from time to time. For a while it was mechanical pencils, but then I found some clear-pink plastic fountain pens in the gift shop at the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, only 3 pounds 50 each, and now I’m addicted to those, along with cartridges of J. Herbin ink, which comes in a variety of really yummy colors. I’ve got some more expensive fountain pens, too; I got myself a Mont Blanc when I sold the magnum opus, but it’s Too Good To Use (this is my mother’s fault; she was saving the good towels for when somebody really Important came to visit, such as the Pope–and we weren’t even Catholic!). I also have some gorgeous notebooks and one day, when my neuroses miraculously go away, I will start writing in them. I am Getting Better; once upon a time I compulsively saved every scrap of paper, reams of stuff that had only been used on one side (oh dear, this is very embarrassing), but now I actually Dispose of all that kind of thing. Thank God for recyling, that’s all I can say; otherwise there would be so much paper in my house I would have to move to a motel.

    Reply
  28. I always have a favorite type of writing instrument, but it changes from time to time. For a while it was mechanical pencils, but then I found some clear-pink plastic fountain pens in the gift shop at the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, only 3 pounds 50 each, and now I’m addicted to those, along with cartridges of J. Herbin ink, which comes in a variety of really yummy colors. I’ve got some more expensive fountain pens, too; I got myself a Mont Blanc when I sold the magnum opus, but it’s Too Good To Use (this is my mother’s fault; she was saving the good towels for when somebody really Important came to visit, such as the Pope–and we weren’t even Catholic!). I also have some gorgeous notebooks and one day, when my neuroses miraculously go away, I will start writing in them. I am Getting Better; once upon a time I compulsively saved every scrap of paper, reams of stuff that had only been used on one side (oh dear, this is very embarrassing), but now I actually Dispose of all that kind of thing. Thank God for recyling, that’s all I can say; otherwise there would be so much paper in my house I would have to move to a motel.

    Reply
  29. I always have a favorite type of writing instrument, but it changes from time to time. For a while it was mechanical pencils, but then I found some clear-pink plastic fountain pens in the gift shop at the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, only 3 pounds 50 each, and now I’m addicted to those, along with cartridges of J. Herbin ink, which comes in a variety of really yummy colors. I’ve got some more expensive fountain pens, too; I got myself a Mont Blanc when I sold the magnum opus, but it’s Too Good To Use (this is my mother’s fault; she was saving the good towels for when somebody really Important came to visit, such as the Pope–and we weren’t even Catholic!). I also have some gorgeous notebooks and one day, when my neuroses miraculously go away, I will start writing in them. I am Getting Better; once upon a time I compulsively saved every scrap of paper, reams of stuff that had only been used on one side (oh dear, this is very embarrassing), but now I actually Dispose of all that kind of thing. Thank God for recyling, that’s all I can say; otherwise there would be so much paper in my house I would have to move to a motel.

    Reply
  30. I always have a favorite type of writing instrument, but it changes from time to time. For a while it was mechanical pencils, but then I found some clear-pink plastic fountain pens in the gift shop at the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, only 3 pounds 50 each, and now I’m addicted to those, along with cartridges of J. Herbin ink, which comes in a variety of really yummy colors. I’ve got some more expensive fountain pens, too; I got myself a Mont Blanc when I sold the magnum opus, but it’s Too Good To Use (this is my mother’s fault; she was saving the good towels for when somebody really Important came to visit, such as the Pope–and we weren’t even Catholic!). I also have some gorgeous notebooks and one day, when my neuroses miraculously go away, I will start writing in them. I am Getting Better; once upon a time I compulsively saved every scrap of paper, reams of stuff that had only been used on one side (oh dear, this is very embarrassing), but now I actually Dispose of all that kind of thing. Thank God for recyling, that’s all I can say; otherwise there would be so much paper in my house I would have to move to a motel.

    Reply
  31. Oh geez louise, when I was in college a few years ago, I would at least once a week go to the bookstore on campus. . . I’d always leave with a pen, pencil, nice and different looking eraser, you can always use another binder or folder, or dividers, or plastic see through binder pages. . . okay, I’m addicted. 😉
    But on the other end, that is where I picked up my first romance and long time after, my first historical romance. 😉
    Lois

    Reply
  32. Oh geez louise, when I was in college a few years ago, I would at least once a week go to the bookstore on campus. . . I’d always leave with a pen, pencil, nice and different looking eraser, you can always use another binder or folder, or dividers, or plastic see through binder pages. . . okay, I’m addicted. 😉
    But on the other end, that is where I picked up my first romance and long time after, my first historical romance. 😉
    Lois

    Reply
  33. Oh geez louise, when I was in college a few years ago, I would at least once a week go to the bookstore on campus. . . I’d always leave with a pen, pencil, nice and different looking eraser, you can always use another binder or folder, or dividers, or plastic see through binder pages. . . okay, I’m addicted. 😉
    But on the other end, that is where I picked up my first romance and long time after, my first historical romance. 😉
    Lois

    Reply
  34. Oh geez louise, when I was in college a few years ago, I would at least once a week go to the bookstore on campus. . . I’d always leave with a pen, pencil, nice and different looking eraser, you can always use another binder or folder, or dividers, or plastic see through binder pages. . . okay, I’m addicted. 😉
    But on the other end, that is where I picked up my first romance and long time after, my first historical romance. 😉
    Lois

    Reply
  35. Oh geez louise, when I was in college a few years ago, I would at least once a week go to the bookstore on campus. . . I’d always leave with a pen, pencil, nice and different looking eraser, you can always use another binder or folder, or dividers, or plastic see through binder pages. . . okay, I’m addicted. 😉
    But on the other end, that is where I picked up my first romance and long time after, my first historical romance. 😉
    Lois

    Reply
  36. That should be the other end of the bookstore I got those books. It doesn’t look like you’ll know what i’m talking about without that little tidbit. LOL
    Lois

    Reply
  37. That should be the other end of the bookstore I got those books. It doesn’t look like you’ll know what i’m talking about without that little tidbit. LOL
    Lois

    Reply
  38. That should be the other end of the bookstore I got those books. It doesn’t look like you’ll know what i’m talking about without that little tidbit. LOL
    Lois

    Reply
  39. That should be the other end of the bookstore I got those books. It doesn’t look like you’ll know what i’m talking about without that little tidbit. LOL
    Lois

    Reply
  40. That should be the other end of the bookstore I got those books. It doesn’t look like you’ll know what i’m talking about without that little tidbit. LOL
    Lois

    Reply
  41. I like cheap ballpoint pens. I know that sounds strange, but early on I picked up the habit of bearing down fairly hard on the page as I write, so fountain and rollerball pens tend to bleed ink all over the place for me. My favorites are the Bics with the clear bodies and the top you pull off and stick on the back of the pen as you write, quite possibly because that’s what my parents had around the house when I was a little girl, making them for me What a Pen is Supposed to Look Like.

    Reply
  42. I like cheap ballpoint pens. I know that sounds strange, but early on I picked up the habit of bearing down fairly hard on the page as I write, so fountain and rollerball pens tend to bleed ink all over the place for me. My favorites are the Bics with the clear bodies and the top you pull off and stick on the back of the pen as you write, quite possibly because that’s what my parents had around the house when I was a little girl, making them for me What a Pen is Supposed to Look Like.

    Reply
  43. I like cheap ballpoint pens. I know that sounds strange, but early on I picked up the habit of bearing down fairly hard on the page as I write, so fountain and rollerball pens tend to bleed ink all over the place for me. My favorites are the Bics with the clear bodies and the top you pull off and stick on the back of the pen as you write, quite possibly because that’s what my parents had around the house when I was a little girl, making them for me What a Pen is Supposed to Look Like.

    Reply
  44. I like cheap ballpoint pens. I know that sounds strange, but early on I picked up the habit of bearing down fairly hard on the page as I write, so fountain and rollerball pens tend to bleed ink all over the place for me. My favorites are the Bics with the clear bodies and the top you pull off and stick on the back of the pen as you write, quite possibly because that’s what my parents had around the house when I was a little girl, making them for me What a Pen is Supposed to Look Like.

    Reply
  45. I like cheap ballpoint pens. I know that sounds strange, but early on I picked up the habit of bearing down fairly hard on the page as I write, so fountain and rollerball pens tend to bleed ink all over the place for me. My favorites are the Bics with the clear bodies and the top you pull off and stick on the back of the pen as you write, quite possibly because that’s what my parents had around the house when I was a little girl, making them for me What a Pen is Supposed to Look Like.

    Reply
  46. Office supply stores are my third favorite place to shop–after bookstores and music stores. I think my pen collection would rival yours Susan/Sarah. But I almost never write in pencil, so I only have a few. I write all first drafts longhand. Currently my favorite tools are the Pilot V Razor Point pens (the multi-pack gives me eight colors) and the Cambridge stiff back writing pad (20 lb paper). Both my brain and my hand seem to function better with these.
    I also have an embarassingly large supply of post-it notes in dozens of colors and patterns. Binder clips are another weakness. I even have floral ones. 🙂 Does anyone else share these addictions?

    Reply
  47. Office supply stores are my third favorite place to shop–after bookstores and music stores. I think my pen collection would rival yours Susan/Sarah. But I almost never write in pencil, so I only have a few. I write all first drafts longhand. Currently my favorite tools are the Pilot V Razor Point pens (the multi-pack gives me eight colors) and the Cambridge stiff back writing pad (20 lb paper). Both my brain and my hand seem to function better with these.
    I also have an embarassingly large supply of post-it notes in dozens of colors and patterns. Binder clips are another weakness. I even have floral ones. 🙂 Does anyone else share these addictions?

    Reply
  48. Office supply stores are my third favorite place to shop–after bookstores and music stores. I think my pen collection would rival yours Susan/Sarah. But I almost never write in pencil, so I only have a few. I write all first drafts longhand. Currently my favorite tools are the Pilot V Razor Point pens (the multi-pack gives me eight colors) and the Cambridge stiff back writing pad (20 lb paper). Both my brain and my hand seem to function better with these.
    I also have an embarassingly large supply of post-it notes in dozens of colors and patterns. Binder clips are another weakness. I even have floral ones. 🙂 Does anyone else share these addictions?

    Reply
  49. Office supply stores are my third favorite place to shop–after bookstores and music stores. I think my pen collection would rival yours Susan/Sarah. But I almost never write in pencil, so I only have a few. I write all first drafts longhand. Currently my favorite tools are the Pilot V Razor Point pens (the multi-pack gives me eight colors) and the Cambridge stiff back writing pad (20 lb paper). Both my brain and my hand seem to function better with these.
    I also have an embarassingly large supply of post-it notes in dozens of colors and patterns. Binder clips are another weakness. I even have floral ones. 🙂 Does anyone else share these addictions?

    Reply
  50. Office supply stores are my third favorite place to shop–after bookstores and music stores. I think my pen collection would rival yours Susan/Sarah. But I almost never write in pencil, so I only have a few. I write all first drafts longhand. Currently my favorite tools are the Pilot V Razor Point pens (the multi-pack gives me eight colors) and the Cambridge stiff back writing pad (20 lb paper). Both my brain and my hand seem to function better with these.
    I also have an embarassingly large supply of post-it notes in dozens of colors and patterns. Binder clips are another weakness. I even have floral ones. 🙂 Does anyone else share these addictions?

    Reply
  51. I teach K-8 art, and I really like crayons the best! But I also like to use Ultra Fine Sharpies for both drawing and writing. By the way, Susan/Sarah, I really like the art you used this time…I’ve never liked doing calligraphy, but I love to look at illustrations from medieval manuscripts and books of hours.. and the Egyptian scribe is great! I’ll bet even the cave painters were picky about the twigs and rocks they scratched designs with.

    Reply
  52. I teach K-8 art, and I really like crayons the best! But I also like to use Ultra Fine Sharpies for both drawing and writing. By the way, Susan/Sarah, I really like the art you used this time…I’ve never liked doing calligraphy, but I love to look at illustrations from medieval manuscripts and books of hours.. and the Egyptian scribe is great! I’ll bet even the cave painters were picky about the twigs and rocks they scratched designs with.

    Reply
  53. I teach K-8 art, and I really like crayons the best! But I also like to use Ultra Fine Sharpies for both drawing and writing. By the way, Susan/Sarah, I really like the art you used this time…I’ve never liked doing calligraphy, but I love to look at illustrations from medieval manuscripts and books of hours.. and the Egyptian scribe is great! I’ll bet even the cave painters were picky about the twigs and rocks they scratched designs with.

    Reply
  54. I teach K-8 art, and I really like crayons the best! But I also like to use Ultra Fine Sharpies for both drawing and writing. By the way, Susan/Sarah, I really like the art you used this time…I’ve never liked doing calligraphy, but I love to look at illustrations from medieval manuscripts and books of hours.. and the Egyptian scribe is great! I’ll bet even the cave painters were picky about the twigs and rocks they scratched designs with.

    Reply
  55. I teach K-8 art, and I really like crayons the best! But I also like to use Ultra Fine Sharpies for both drawing and writing. By the way, Susan/Sarah, I really like the art you used this time…I’ve never liked doing calligraphy, but I love to look at illustrations from medieval manuscripts and books of hours.. and the Egyptian scribe is great! I’ll bet even the cave painters were picky about the twigs and rocks they scratched designs with.

    Reply
  56. You really hit on a topic close to a writer’s heart, one I could prose on about for hours! I bought the colorful ink cartridge fountain pens way back in elementary school. When I first started writing historical romance, I was broke and bought the cheapest Bic available and cheapest notebooks. For years, I carted around that printer paper with the holes in the side because I couldn’t bear to throw it out. Recycling is definitely a blessing! I had a favorite gel pen but they quit making them, so I’m in experiment stage now. The new Bics are okay, but dry up after a week of writing.

    Reply
  57. You really hit on a topic close to a writer’s heart, one I could prose on about for hours! I bought the colorful ink cartridge fountain pens way back in elementary school. When I first started writing historical romance, I was broke and bought the cheapest Bic available and cheapest notebooks. For years, I carted around that printer paper with the holes in the side because I couldn’t bear to throw it out. Recycling is definitely a blessing! I had a favorite gel pen but they quit making them, so I’m in experiment stage now. The new Bics are okay, but dry up after a week of writing.

    Reply
  58. You really hit on a topic close to a writer’s heart, one I could prose on about for hours! I bought the colorful ink cartridge fountain pens way back in elementary school. When I first started writing historical romance, I was broke and bought the cheapest Bic available and cheapest notebooks. For years, I carted around that printer paper with the holes in the side because I couldn’t bear to throw it out. Recycling is definitely a blessing! I had a favorite gel pen but they quit making them, so I’m in experiment stage now. The new Bics are okay, but dry up after a week of writing.

    Reply
  59. You really hit on a topic close to a writer’s heart, one I could prose on about for hours! I bought the colorful ink cartridge fountain pens way back in elementary school. When I first started writing historical romance, I was broke and bought the cheapest Bic available and cheapest notebooks. For years, I carted around that printer paper with the holes in the side because I couldn’t bear to throw it out. Recycling is definitely a blessing! I had a favorite gel pen but they quit making them, so I’m in experiment stage now. The new Bics are okay, but dry up after a week of writing.

    Reply
  60. You really hit on a topic close to a writer’s heart, one I could prose on about for hours! I bought the colorful ink cartridge fountain pens way back in elementary school. When I first started writing historical romance, I was broke and bought the cheapest Bic available and cheapest notebooks. For years, I carted around that printer paper with the holes in the side because I couldn’t bear to throw it out. Recycling is definitely a blessing! I had a favorite gel pen but they quit making them, so I’m in experiment stage now. The new Bics are okay, but dry up after a week of writing.

    Reply
  61. From Sherrie:
    Susan/Sarah, sister of my heart, I am also addicted to those Pilot G-2 gel ink pens! I buy them in the 3-pack, to have extras on hand for when I run out. I struggle with my OCD desire to run out and buy a crate-full, because I secretly fear that (as often happens) the minute I find something I like, they’ll discontinue making it.
    Janga, I so love Post-its and have a whole cupboard full of them, in a rainbow of colors, thanks to my former employer. When they went bankrupt 3 years ago and laid me off, I was working from home. They told me to keep all the office stuff except computer and printer. I ended up with a huge amount of every conceivable office necessity, from Post-its to writing tablets, from manila folders to binder clips. I even ended up with two enormous executive-size desks with matching credenza, lateral file, conference table and chairs, and my coveted 3-drawer metal filing cabinets, which I adore.
    Back to pens: I love gel pens because you don’t have to work so hard to write with them. With the amount of hard-copy editing I do, writing ease is important.
    The one thing I’m really weird about is that I refuse to put the cap of a pen on the top when I’m using the pen. It makes the pen too long and top-heavy, and I don’t like how it throws off the balance when writing. Is there ANYBODY else out there who does that or am I truly and fatally weird? (You have no idea how happy I was to discover that one of the Wenches also removes the labels from her blouses and shirts, as I do, because of the scratchiness) *g*

    Reply
  62. From Sherrie:
    Susan/Sarah, sister of my heart, I am also addicted to those Pilot G-2 gel ink pens! I buy them in the 3-pack, to have extras on hand for when I run out. I struggle with my OCD desire to run out and buy a crate-full, because I secretly fear that (as often happens) the minute I find something I like, they’ll discontinue making it.
    Janga, I so love Post-its and have a whole cupboard full of them, in a rainbow of colors, thanks to my former employer. When they went bankrupt 3 years ago and laid me off, I was working from home. They told me to keep all the office stuff except computer and printer. I ended up with a huge amount of every conceivable office necessity, from Post-its to writing tablets, from manila folders to binder clips. I even ended up with two enormous executive-size desks with matching credenza, lateral file, conference table and chairs, and my coveted 3-drawer metal filing cabinets, which I adore.
    Back to pens: I love gel pens because you don’t have to work so hard to write with them. With the amount of hard-copy editing I do, writing ease is important.
    The one thing I’m really weird about is that I refuse to put the cap of a pen on the top when I’m using the pen. It makes the pen too long and top-heavy, and I don’t like how it throws off the balance when writing. Is there ANYBODY else out there who does that or am I truly and fatally weird? (You have no idea how happy I was to discover that one of the Wenches also removes the labels from her blouses and shirts, as I do, because of the scratchiness) *g*

    Reply
  63. From Sherrie:
    Susan/Sarah, sister of my heart, I am also addicted to those Pilot G-2 gel ink pens! I buy them in the 3-pack, to have extras on hand for when I run out. I struggle with my OCD desire to run out and buy a crate-full, because I secretly fear that (as often happens) the minute I find something I like, they’ll discontinue making it.
    Janga, I so love Post-its and have a whole cupboard full of them, in a rainbow of colors, thanks to my former employer. When they went bankrupt 3 years ago and laid me off, I was working from home. They told me to keep all the office stuff except computer and printer. I ended up with a huge amount of every conceivable office necessity, from Post-its to writing tablets, from manila folders to binder clips. I even ended up with two enormous executive-size desks with matching credenza, lateral file, conference table and chairs, and my coveted 3-drawer metal filing cabinets, which I adore.
    Back to pens: I love gel pens because you don’t have to work so hard to write with them. With the amount of hard-copy editing I do, writing ease is important.
    The one thing I’m really weird about is that I refuse to put the cap of a pen on the top when I’m using the pen. It makes the pen too long and top-heavy, and I don’t like how it throws off the balance when writing. Is there ANYBODY else out there who does that or am I truly and fatally weird? (You have no idea how happy I was to discover that one of the Wenches also removes the labels from her blouses and shirts, as I do, because of the scratchiness) *g*

    Reply
  64. From Sherrie:
    Susan/Sarah, sister of my heart, I am also addicted to those Pilot G-2 gel ink pens! I buy them in the 3-pack, to have extras on hand for when I run out. I struggle with my OCD desire to run out and buy a crate-full, because I secretly fear that (as often happens) the minute I find something I like, they’ll discontinue making it.
    Janga, I so love Post-its and have a whole cupboard full of them, in a rainbow of colors, thanks to my former employer. When they went bankrupt 3 years ago and laid me off, I was working from home. They told me to keep all the office stuff except computer and printer. I ended up with a huge amount of every conceivable office necessity, from Post-its to writing tablets, from manila folders to binder clips. I even ended up with two enormous executive-size desks with matching credenza, lateral file, conference table and chairs, and my coveted 3-drawer metal filing cabinets, which I adore.
    Back to pens: I love gel pens because you don’t have to work so hard to write with them. With the amount of hard-copy editing I do, writing ease is important.
    The one thing I’m really weird about is that I refuse to put the cap of a pen on the top when I’m using the pen. It makes the pen too long and top-heavy, and I don’t like how it throws off the balance when writing. Is there ANYBODY else out there who does that or am I truly and fatally weird? (You have no idea how happy I was to discover that one of the Wenches also removes the labels from her blouses and shirts, as I do, because of the scratchiness) *g*

    Reply
  65. From Sherrie:
    Susan/Sarah, sister of my heart, I am also addicted to those Pilot G-2 gel ink pens! I buy them in the 3-pack, to have extras on hand for when I run out. I struggle with my OCD desire to run out and buy a crate-full, because I secretly fear that (as often happens) the minute I find something I like, they’ll discontinue making it.
    Janga, I so love Post-its and have a whole cupboard full of them, in a rainbow of colors, thanks to my former employer. When they went bankrupt 3 years ago and laid me off, I was working from home. They told me to keep all the office stuff except computer and printer. I ended up with a huge amount of every conceivable office necessity, from Post-its to writing tablets, from manila folders to binder clips. I even ended up with two enormous executive-size desks with matching credenza, lateral file, conference table and chairs, and my coveted 3-drawer metal filing cabinets, which I adore.
    Back to pens: I love gel pens because you don’t have to work so hard to write with them. With the amount of hard-copy editing I do, writing ease is important.
    The one thing I’m really weird about is that I refuse to put the cap of a pen on the top when I’m using the pen. It makes the pen too long and top-heavy, and I don’t like how it throws off the balance when writing. Is there ANYBODY else out there who does that or am I truly and fatally weird? (You have no idea how happy I was to discover that one of the Wenches also removes the labels from her blouses and shirts, as I do, because of the scratchiness) *g*

    Reply
  66. Replies to copy edits require 3 or 4 colored pencils? This sure is an eye-opening blog!
    As an artist(e) 🙂 I like the really fine point drawing pens and I crave Prismacolor pencils.
    At work I avoid the Pilot G-2’s, they’re the favorite of an infamous office pen-chewer. And pens travel.

    Reply
  67. Replies to copy edits require 3 or 4 colored pencils? This sure is an eye-opening blog!
    As an artist(e) 🙂 I like the really fine point drawing pens and I crave Prismacolor pencils.
    At work I avoid the Pilot G-2’s, they’re the favorite of an infamous office pen-chewer. And pens travel.

    Reply
  68. Replies to copy edits require 3 or 4 colored pencils? This sure is an eye-opening blog!
    As an artist(e) 🙂 I like the really fine point drawing pens and I crave Prismacolor pencils.
    At work I avoid the Pilot G-2’s, they’re the favorite of an infamous office pen-chewer. And pens travel.

    Reply
  69. Replies to copy edits require 3 or 4 colored pencils? This sure is an eye-opening blog!
    As an artist(e) 🙂 I like the really fine point drawing pens and I crave Prismacolor pencils.
    At work I avoid the Pilot G-2’s, they’re the favorite of an infamous office pen-chewer. And pens travel.

    Reply
  70. Replies to copy edits require 3 or 4 colored pencils? This sure is an eye-opening blog!
    As an artist(e) 🙂 I like the really fine point drawing pens and I crave Prismacolor pencils.
    At work I avoid the Pilot G-2’s, they’re the favorite of an infamous office pen-chewer. And pens travel.

    Reply
  71. Man, I thought I was the only one who was a pen loon… I carry around a dozen pens with me in my purse: three Waterman fountain pens (one with purple ink, one with green ink, and one with blue-black ink); a couple of Pilot VRazor felt-tip pens; a couple of Staples-brand ballpoint pens; and the Cross pen my cousin gave me seven years ago that I’m only now learning to love.
    I’m also exceedingly fond of Clairfontaine pads–but only with the VRazor pens. Different paper requires different pens…
    I love pens. [Happy sigh.]

    Reply
  72. Man, I thought I was the only one who was a pen loon… I carry around a dozen pens with me in my purse: three Waterman fountain pens (one with purple ink, one with green ink, and one with blue-black ink); a couple of Pilot VRazor felt-tip pens; a couple of Staples-brand ballpoint pens; and the Cross pen my cousin gave me seven years ago that I’m only now learning to love.
    I’m also exceedingly fond of Clairfontaine pads–but only with the VRazor pens. Different paper requires different pens…
    I love pens. [Happy sigh.]

    Reply
  73. Man, I thought I was the only one who was a pen loon… I carry around a dozen pens with me in my purse: three Waterman fountain pens (one with purple ink, one with green ink, and one with blue-black ink); a couple of Pilot VRazor felt-tip pens; a couple of Staples-brand ballpoint pens; and the Cross pen my cousin gave me seven years ago that I’m only now learning to love.
    I’m also exceedingly fond of Clairfontaine pads–but only with the VRazor pens. Different paper requires different pens…
    I love pens. [Happy sigh.]

    Reply
  74. Man, I thought I was the only one who was a pen loon… I carry around a dozen pens with me in my purse: three Waterman fountain pens (one with purple ink, one with green ink, and one with blue-black ink); a couple of Pilot VRazor felt-tip pens; a couple of Staples-brand ballpoint pens; and the Cross pen my cousin gave me seven years ago that I’m only now learning to love.
    I’m also exceedingly fond of Clairfontaine pads–but only with the VRazor pens. Different paper requires different pens…
    I love pens. [Happy sigh.]

    Reply
  75. Man, I thought I was the only one who was a pen loon… I carry around a dozen pens with me in my purse: three Waterman fountain pens (one with purple ink, one with green ink, and one with blue-black ink); a couple of Pilot VRazor felt-tip pens; a couple of Staples-brand ballpoint pens; and the Cross pen my cousin gave me seven years ago that I’m only now learning to love.
    I’m also exceedingly fond of Clairfontaine pads–but only with the VRazor pens. Different paper requires different pens…
    I love pens. [Happy sigh.]

    Reply
  76. Susan, I had no idea you were a Pen Rat! Though perhaps I should have guessed when you gave me that cute pack of multi-colored mini-gel pens. 🙂
    I’m the loyal type, oblivious to all the new stuff and true to the blue Flair felt tips. Sometimes I’ll used black, but toward the end of a book, when I sit down to write by hand the events that have to happen by the end of the book (this always happens once a book, and it’s the -only- time I ever do book writing by hand), I have to have a yellow lined tablet and a blue felt tip.
    I think an addiction to office supply stores is a universal thing among writers. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  77. Susan, I had no idea you were a Pen Rat! Though perhaps I should have guessed when you gave me that cute pack of multi-colored mini-gel pens. 🙂
    I’m the loyal type, oblivious to all the new stuff and true to the blue Flair felt tips. Sometimes I’ll used black, but toward the end of a book, when I sit down to write by hand the events that have to happen by the end of the book (this always happens once a book, and it’s the -only- time I ever do book writing by hand), I have to have a yellow lined tablet and a blue felt tip.
    I think an addiction to office supply stores is a universal thing among writers. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  78. Susan, I had no idea you were a Pen Rat! Though perhaps I should have guessed when you gave me that cute pack of multi-colored mini-gel pens. 🙂
    I’m the loyal type, oblivious to all the new stuff and true to the blue Flair felt tips. Sometimes I’ll used black, but toward the end of a book, when I sit down to write by hand the events that have to happen by the end of the book (this always happens once a book, and it’s the -only- time I ever do book writing by hand), I have to have a yellow lined tablet and a blue felt tip.
    I think an addiction to office supply stores is a universal thing among writers. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  79. Susan, I had no idea you were a Pen Rat! Though perhaps I should have guessed when you gave me that cute pack of multi-colored mini-gel pens. 🙂
    I’m the loyal type, oblivious to all the new stuff and true to the blue Flair felt tips. Sometimes I’ll used black, but toward the end of a book, when I sit down to write by hand the events that have to happen by the end of the book (this always happens once a book, and it’s the -only- time I ever do book writing by hand), I have to have a yellow lined tablet and a blue felt tip.
    I think an addiction to office supply stores is a universal thing among writers. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  80. Susan, I had no idea you were a Pen Rat! Though perhaps I should have guessed when you gave me that cute pack of multi-colored mini-gel pens. 🙂
    I’m the loyal type, oblivious to all the new stuff and true to the blue Flair felt tips. Sometimes I’ll used black, but toward the end of a book, when I sit down to write by hand the events that have to happen by the end of the book (this always happens once a book, and it’s the -only- time I ever do book writing by hand), I have to have a yellow lined tablet and a blue felt tip.
    I think an addiction to office supply stores is a universal thing among writers. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  81. I love pens but. . .if I write with a regular pen longer than about 5 minutes my hand starts to HURT. So mostly I type–so unromantic. If I have to write lots of stuff by hand (as I did until recently at my job) the selection process becomes very simple: it’s not about the tip, it’s about the shaft. (I know, I’m blushing already, but let me finish!) The fatter the pen, the less my hand hurts–so it’s usually comfort rather than excitement for me, sigh.

    Reply
  82. I love pens but. . .if I write with a regular pen longer than about 5 minutes my hand starts to HURT. So mostly I type–so unromantic. If I have to write lots of stuff by hand (as I did until recently at my job) the selection process becomes very simple: it’s not about the tip, it’s about the shaft. (I know, I’m blushing already, but let me finish!) The fatter the pen, the less my hand hurts–so it’s usually comfort rather than excitement for me, sigh.

    Reply
  83. I love pens but. . .if I write with a regular pen longer than about 5 minutes my hand starts to HURT. So mostly I type–so unromantic. If I have to write lots of stuff by hand (as I did until recently at my job) the selection process becomes very simple: it’s not about the tip, it’s about the shaft. (I know, I’m blushing already, but let me finish!) The fatter the pen, the less my hand hurts–so it’s usually comfort rather than excitement for me, sigh.

    Reply
  84. I love pens but. . .if I write with a regular pen longer than about 5 minutes my hand starts to HURT. So mostly I type–so unromantic. If I have to write lots of stuff by hand (as I did until recently at my job) the selection process becomes very simple: it’s not about the tip, it’s about the shaft. (I know, I’m blushing already, but let me finish!) The fatter the pen, the less my hand hurts–so it’s usually comfort rather than excitement for me, sigh.

    Reply
  85. I love pens but. . .if I write with a regular pen longer than about 5 minutes my hand starts to HURT. So mostly I type–so unromantic. If I have to write lots of stuff by hand (as I did until recently at my job) the selection process becomes very simple: it’s not about the tip, it’s about the shaft. (I know, I’m blushing already, but let me finish!) The fatter the pen, the less my hand hurts–so it’s usually comfort rather than excitement for me, sigh.

    Reply
  86. Sherrie, I agree with you that putting the top on the back of the pen changes its balance.
    And I also remove labels for scratchiness and sticking out at the back of my neck. Once I didn’t bother with a blouse with a collar, and after a while I noticed that the label was wearing two holes into the material of my blouse, so I cut it out quick.

    Reply
  87. Sherrie, I agree with you that putting the top on the back of the pen changes its balance.
    And I also remove labels for scratchiness and sticking out at the back of my neck. Once I didn’t bother with a blouse with a collar, and after a while I noticed that the label was wearing two holes into the material of my blouse, so I cut it out quick.

    Reply
  88. Sherrie, I agree with you that putting the top on the back of the pen changes its balance.
    And I also remove labels for scratchiness and sticking out at the back of my neck. Once I didn’t bother with a blouse with a collar, and after a while I noticed that the label was wearing two holes into the material of my blouse, so I cut it out quick.

    Reply
  89. Sherrie, I agree with you that putting the top on the back of the pen changes its balance.
    And I also remove labels for scratchiness and sticking out at the back of my neck. Once I didn’t bother with a blouse with a collar, and after a while I noticed that the label was wearing two holes into the material of my blouse, so I cut it out quick.

    Reply
  90. Sherrie, I agree with you that putting the top on the back of the pen changes its balance.
    And I also remove labels for scratchiness and sticking out at the back of my neck. Once I didn’t bother with a blouse with a collar, and after a while I noticed that the label was wearing two holes into the material of my blouse, so I cut it out quick.

    Reply
  91. OK, I know it’s late to add, but a few points have come up in the comments. One: good gel pens. I love the Sarasa gel/ballpoints that I get at work. I first tried them because they come in brown (my favorite color of ink) but then I discovered that they also have a multi-color pack with mahogany (that’s the brown one), forest green, chartruse, shocking pink, bright peach and a couple of nicer-than-usual-blues, as well as boring old red and black.
    Re: Pen lunacy. My husband once challenged me to show him how many pens I had in my purse. I had a tendency to throw a couple in every so often, because I was absurdly worried about finding myself without. That day when I pulled them all out and counted there were (blush) 38.
    One other tool that I have several of in every room of the house is a matt knife. Not a writing instrument, I hear you object. OK, maybe not, but they certainly come in handy for opening packages from amazon.com, and I just hate to have to get up and go looking for something like that.
    From all these comments it sounds as if we should form an organization called Office Supply Addicts Anonymous.

    Reply
  92. OK, I know it’s late to add, but a few points have come up in the comments. One: good gel pens. I love the Sarasa gel/ballpoints that I get at work. I first tried them because they come in brown (my favorite color of ink) but then I discovered that they also have a multi-color pack with mahogany (that’s the brown one), forest green, chartruse, shocking pink, bright peach and a couple of nicer-than-usual-blues, as well as boring old red and black.
    Re: Pen lunacy. My husband once challenged me to show him how many pens I had in my purse. I had a tendency to throw a couple in every so often, because I was absurdly worried about finding myself without. That day when I pulled them all out and counted there were (blush) 38.
    One other tool that I have several of in every room of the house is a matt knife. Not a writing instrument, I hear you object. OK, maybe not, but they certainly come in handy for opening packages from amazon.com, and I just hate to have to get up and go looking for something like that.
    From all these comments it sounds as if we should form an organization called Office Supply Addicts Anonymous.

    Reply
  93. OK, I know it’s late to add, but a few points have come up in the comments. One: good gel pens. I love the Sarasa gel/ballpoints that I get at work. I first tried them because they come in brown (my favorite color of ink) but then I discovered that they also have a multi-color pack with mahogany (that’s the brown one), forest green, chartruse, shocking pink, bright peach and a couple of nicer-than-usual-blues, as well as boring old red and black.
    Re: Pen lunacy. My husband once challenged me to show him how many pens I had in my purse. I had a tendency to throw a couple in every so often, because I was absurdly worried about finding myself without. That day when I pulled them all out and counted there were (blush) 38.
    One other tool that I have several of in every room of the house is a matt knife. Not a writing instrument, I hear you object. OK, maybe not, but they certainly come in handy for opening packages from amazon.com, and I just hate to have to get up and go looking for something like that.
    From all these comments it sounds as if we should form an organization called Office Supply Addicts Anonymous.

    Reply
  94. OK, I know it’s late to add, but a few points have come up in the comments. One: good gel pens. I love the Sarasa gel/ballpoints that I get at work. I first tried them because they come in brown (my favorite color of ink) but then I discovered that they also have a multi-color pack with mahogany (that’s the brown one), forest green, chartruse, shocking pink, bright peach and a couple of nicer-than-usual-blues, as well as boring old red and black.
    Re: Pen lunacy. My husband once challenged me to show him how many pens I had in my purse. I had a tendency to throw a couple in every so often, because I was absurdly worried about finding myself without. That day when I pulled them all out and counted there were (blush) 38.
    One other tool that I have several of in every room of the house is a matt knife. Not a writing instrument, I hear you object. OK, maybe not, but they certainly come in handy for opening packages from amazon.com, and I just hate to have to get up and go looking for something like that.
    From all these comments it sounds as if we should form an organization called Office Supply Addicts Anonymous.

    Reply
  95. OK, I know it’s late to add, but a few points have come up in the comments. One: good gel pens. I love the Sarasa gel/ballpoints that I get at work. I first tried them because they come in brown (my favorite color of ink) but then I discovered that they also have a multi-color pack with mahogany (that’s the brown one), forest green, chartruse, shocking pink, bright peach and a couple of nicer-than-usual-blues, as well as boring old red and black.
    Re: Pen lunacy. My husband once challenged me to show him how many pens I had in my purse. I had a tendency to throw a couple in every so often, because I was absurdly worried about finding myself without. That day when I pulled them all out and counted there were (blush) 38.
    One other tool that I have several of in every room of the house is a matt knife. Not a writing instrument, I hear you object. OK, maybe not, but they certainly come in handy for opening packages from amazon.com, and I just hate to have to get up and go looking for something like that.
    From all these comments it sounds as if we should form an organization called Office Supply Addicts Anonymous.

    Reply
  96. On my second day as a visiting professor at a certain US college (I was there for one semester, in 1999), one of my new colleagues, whom I had met a couple of times before at conferences, and another, whom I had met for the first time that day, said to me, ‘we’re going out to Staples – would you like to come?’
    ‘Ooh, yes PLEASE!’ I said. From that moment on, we knew that we were all going to get on really well…
    😀

    Reply
  97. On my second day as a visiting professor at a certain US college (I was there for one semester, in 1999), one of my new colleagues, whom I had met a couple of times before at conferences, and another, whom I had met for the first time that day, said to me, ‘we’re going out to Staples – would you like to come?’
    ‘Ooh, yes PLEASE!’ I said. From that moment on, we knew that we were all going to get on really well…
    😀

    Reply
  98. On my second day as a visiting professor at a certain US college (I was there for one semester, in 1999), one of my new colleagues, whom I had met a couple of times before at conferences, and another, whom I had met for the first time that day, said to me, ‘we’re going out to Staples – would you like to come?’
    ‘Ooh, yes PLEASE!’ I said. From that moment on, we knew that we were all going to get on really well…
    😀

    Reply
  99. On my second day as a visiting professor at a certain US college (I was there for one semester, in 1999), one of my new colleagues, whom I had met a couple of times before at conferences, and another, whom I had met for the first time that day, said to me, ‘we’re going out to Staples – would you like to come?’
    ‘Ooh, yes PLEASE!’ I said. From that moment on, we knew that we were all going to get on really well…
    😀

    Reply
  100. On my second day as a visiting professor at a certain US college (I was there for one semester, in 1999), one of my new colleagues, whom I had met a couple of times before at conferences, and another, whom I had met for the first time that day, said to me, ‘we’re going out to Staples – would you like to come?’
    ‘Ooh, yes PLEASE!’ I said. From that moment on, we knew that we were all going to get on really well…
    😀

    Reply
  101. Oh how nice to discover that I’m not alone in my fondness and attachment to the pen!
    And now there are some new ones I want to try. Amazing how this is a widespread trait among writers.
    I’ve always thought it might be my art side, too–that love of the pencil, chalk, or brush as the extention of the hand, and the brain. I think it explains why I do so much of my work on paper, despite all the technical stuff available. I rarely read for any length on the screen, and edit onscreen only under duress.
    I have to have a paper copy and a pen in hand (and several in reserve, with pencils, and stickies, colored flags and paper clips…) to really enjoy that process of editing a draft. I have to see it on the page … which is fodder for another blog.
    And now that so many of us have revealed ourselves to be secret office-supply addicts … next time we may have to discuss paper and notebooks!!
    Oh it’s heaven just thinking about it … 😉
    Susan

    Reply
  102. Oh how nice to discover that I’m not alone in my fondness and attachment to the pen!
    And now there are some new ones I want to try. Amazing how this is a widespread trait among writers.
    I’ve always thought it might be my art side, too–that love of the pencil, chalk, or brush as the extention of the hand, and the brain. I think it explains why I do so much of my work on paper, despite all the technical stuff available. I rarely read for any length on the screen, and edit onscreen only under duress.
    I have to have a paper copy and a pen in hand (and several in reserve, with pencils, and stickies, colored flags and paper clips…) to really enjoy that process of editing a draft. I have to see it on the page … which is fodder for another blog.
    And now that so many of us have revealed ourselves to be secret office-supply addicts … next time we may have to discuss paper and notebooks!!
    Oh it’s heaven just thinking about it … 😉
    Susan

    Reply
  103. Oh how nice to discover that I’m not alone in my fondness and attachment to the pen!
    And now there are some new ones I want to try. Amazing how this is a widespread trait among writers.
    I’ve always thought it might be my art side, too–that love of the pencil, chalk, or brush as the extention of the hand, and the brain. I think it explains why I do so much of my work on paper, despite all the technical stuff available. I rarely read for any length on the screen, and edit onscreen only under duress.
    I have to have a paper copy and a pen in hand (and several in reserve, with pencils, and stickies, colored flags and paper clips…) to really enjoy that process of editing a draft. I have to see it on the page … which is fodder for another blog.
    And now that so many of us have revealed ourselves to be secret office-supply addicts … next time we may have to discuss paper and notebooks!!
    Oh it’s heaven just thinking about it … 😉
    Susan

    Reply
  104. Oh how nice to discover that I’m not alone in my fondness and attachment to the pen!
    And now there are some new ones I want to try. Amazing how this is a widespread trait among writers.
    I’ve always thought it might be my art side, too–that love of the pencil, chalk, or brush as the extention of the hand, and the brain. I think it explains why I do so much of my work on paper, despite all the technical stuff available. I rarely read for any length on the screen, and edit onscreen only under duress.
    I have to have a paper copy and a pen in hand (and several in reserve, with pencils, and stickies, colored flags and paper clips…) to really enjoy that process of editing a draft. I have to see it on the page … which is fodder for another blog.
    And now that so many of us have revealed ourselves to be secret office-supply addicts … next time we may have to discuss paper and notebooks!!
    Oh it’s heaven just thinking about it … 😉
    Susan

    Reply
  105. Oh how nice to discover that I’m not alone in my fondness and attachment to the pen!
    And now there are some new ones I want to try. Amazing how this is a widespread trait among writers.
    I’ve always thought it might be my art side, too–that love of the pencil, chalk, or brush as the extention of the hand, and the brain. I think it explains why I do so much of my work on paper, despite all the technical stuff available. I rarely read for any length on the screen, and edit onscreen only under duress.
    I have to have a paper copy and a pen in hand (and several in reserve, with pencils, and stickies, colored flags and paper clips…) to really enjoy that process of editing a draft. I have to see it on the page … which is fodder for another blog.
    And now that so many of us have revealed ourselves to be secret office-supply addicts … next time we may have to discuss paper and notebooks!!
    Oh it’s heaven just thinking about it … 😉
    Susan

    Reply

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