Little Things


I bought a fountain pen. I realize some of you might not find this fact as absolutely thrilling as I do but I am telling you about it anyway. I have wanted a fountain pen for ages but they seemed fiddly and expensive. Plus, I already have a notebook addiction, do I really need to add a pen addiction to that? Well, it seems I do. I found one online that was downright cheap ($11.00) and got rave reviews. It showed up in the mail the other day and I have never before been so happy to make grocery shopping lists. I have made my entire family admire it and have forced at least one of them to write with it. It came with an ink cartridge, which I am using, but it also included a refillable ink bladder which means I can buy different colors of ink and fill it myself. Just think of it. If that doesn't thrill you then this is probably not the blog you should be reading. The reasonable side of me knows that a fountain pen won't suddenly make my handwriting easy to read or the words I write suddenly more poetic but I am ignoring that side of me in favor of a lovely daydream that includes my fountain pen, a coffee shop, a new notebook, and the start of the next great American novel.

I have only just started A Peculiar Treasure by Edna Ferber. It is her autobiography and, going by the few pages I have read, it will be fascinating. She writes just as if she is sitting in the room talking to you. It covers her life as a child in small-town America and then her career as a journalist in Chicago. It is full of photos which I think no biography should be without. I read most of Ferber's books when I was a teenager and have been slowly re-reading them in recent years. I read Saratoga Trunk last year and it was just as good as I remembered. I think I will have to look for a copy of Show Boat and read that next. I just looked up Ferber's books on Wikipedia and found out that she won the Pulitzer Prize for So Big.  I knew that Show Boat was made into a wildly successful musical but I didn't know that Cimarron won the Academy Award for best picture in 1931. Giant and Ice Palace were also made into movies. There is also a second volume of her autobiography called A Kind of Magic.


I, of course, have bought a few books recently. No, this is not all of them. This is just all I am admitting to at the moment. The Jane Gardam is because I listened to a Backlisted podcast about it. I have read a couple of other books by Gardam and have loved them both. Exposure was purchased because of a review I read somewhere so if you have reviewed it on your blog recently then thank you for the recommendation. It has London, the 1960s, spies, missing files, and lots of adventure and suspicion. It should be a lot of fun. Then there are two books about Jane Austen because I can never have enough books about Austen and her novels. Finally, I bought a volume of the broadcasts of Edward Murrow. I recently read Citizens of London which discusses how America came to build an alliance with Great Britain during WWII. It concentrated on three men, one of whom was Edward Murrow, the head of CBS News in Europe. He became the voice of the war for many Americans and I am very interested in reading the broadcasts that were referenced in Citizens of London.

So, there you have it; a few books and a fountain pen. What else could I need? Well, maybe a full skirt with lovely, deep pockets. I found one of those this week as well--on the clearance rack. If that doesn't make you envious I don't know what will.

18 comments

  1. Welcome to the addictive world of fountain pens! I've been using fountain pens almost since I learned to write. I even spent my allowance of little jars of Peacock Blue ink at the five and dime store. My problem is that I have about 10 fountain pens and about 8 bottles of ink, but I don't have that many places to write. I write in my journal every day, but I don't want it to look like a rainbow. So I use only one color ink (Noodler's Nightshade) for that. Yes, grocery lists, the occasional card or note, but those lovely colors are just sitting in their box. Maybe I'll stop commenting on blogs (I've been having trouble commenting on some blogs, yours included) and just write long letters to bloggers, each can have their own color!

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    1. I'm sorry you are having trouble commenting. I haven't been getting notified when people leave comments. I have been debating switching to Wordpress but it sounds like a bit of a hassle. Maybe it will be worth it in the long run. Ten fountain pens! Do you have a favorite? Is Noodler's ink the one you would recommend?

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    2. I do have a favorite fountain pen. It's the Lamy Safari. Goulet Pens is a great place to shop (https://www.gouletpens.com) on line, but you're close to Bromfield Pen, on Bromfield Street in Boston. It was, amazingly, still there when I was in Boston the last time. I think it's been there forever! Noodler's Ink has a stunning variety of colors to choose from. I can't give you calligraphy lessons because I often can't read my own handwriting either! Good luck with that!

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    3. I just looked up Bromfield Pen and now I want to go! I will have to plan a day in Boston just to visit bookshops and the pen store. Several people have recommended the Lamy Safari. If (when) I decide I need another fountain pen that will probably be the one I will buy.

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  2. I enjoyed your post on so many levels. As a teenager I read every Edna Ferber I could get my hands on. I think perhaps I should return to some of them. I started writing with a beloved fountain pen in high school, but somehow when I stopped writing calligraphy some years back, I retired my fountain pen. What was I thinking? I just went, found, and filled my old pen. It doesn't feel as though it writes as smoothly as I recall, but it brought a smile to my face. Somehow just writing with a fountain pen seems to make everything you write more noteworthy. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Why am I not surprised that you like fountain pens too? Maybe you should teach me a bit of calligraphy and then my handwriting can match my pen in fanciness.

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  3. I had a fountain pen too. I loved it. Where did it go? You have made me want one now. What was the pen you bought for $11? I only own Saratoga Trunk. I loved Show Boat. It was fairly recently revived in a lovely and quite accurate Broadway musical. We saw the road show at the Bushnell. The music is beautiful. I must admit movies (and plays I assume) of books usually leave me cold, but there are exceptions.

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    1. It is a Pilot Metropolitan. It gets very good reviews as an entry-level fountain pen and obviously, is very affordable. I haven't been to the Bushnell in ages. I should keep my eye out for an interesting show.

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  4. Envious on all counts. I've never read any Ferber, but now I want to!

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    1. Yes! Read Ferber. I think you would enjoy her.

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  5. Everything about this post is right up my street. I recently bought a copy of Exposure too. I've read and really enjoyed a few of Edna Ferber's books, they don't often pop up in secondhand bookshops here, but I have a beautiful facsimile copy of Show Boat - 1926 edition.

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    1. I would love to see your copy of Show Boat. It sounds lovely. I had a vague idea that I read about Exposure on your blog but that must not be it. I will probably read it soon and I'll be curious to see what you think as well.

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  6. Here's a link to my Show Boat blogpost dating back to 2011, it doesn't seem that long ago. https://piningforthewest.co.uk/2011/05/10/show-boat-by-edna-ferber/

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    1. Thanks for the link. I haven't read Show Boat in years and your review has made me want to read it again. I also want to listen to the music from the musical. I saw the movie but that was years ago too.

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  7. A fountain pen and a skirt with POCKETS? You're right, I'm envious.

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    1. As you should be. My daughter has already tried to steal the skirt with pockets. The lack of pockets in her clothing is a pet peeve of hers.

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  8. Fountain pen fetish, notebooks and Jane Austen - yep - I'm a the right blog for me :-)
    Add in Edna Ferber and we're a perfect match!
    I discovered her a year of so ago, when I read So Big for a CC spin. I was amazed that this woman and her writing had all but disappeared from the literary scene. Thrilled to know there is a bio to watch out for, although it's not likely to suddenly appear on the bookshelves in any Australian bookshop soon (ooh goodie, that means I have to research 2nd hand bookshops :-D )

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    1. I didn't realize so many people loved fountain pens. It has been a bit of a revelation. As for Jane Austen, well, any right-minded person is going to love her so I am glad we are on the same page.

      I am happy to hear that I have given you an excuse to research secondhand bookshops. My work here is done!

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