Time To Reload!

Time to reload the fountain pen. These photos aren’t the greatest, and I apologize in advance to my friends who are into fountain pens in a big way. (Their photographs are professional quality.) Anyway, I wanted to give a brief glimpse of the process by which ink is drawn into the pen, especially for my readers who asked about my writing habits.

You start out with the ink, in this case it is from Mont Blanc and comes in this cleverly shaped bottle.

The bottle allows you to keep more ink on the well side so that you can always immerse the nib in enough ink to draw it into the pen. The end of the pen turns. By turning it, you move a plunger inside the body of the pen. Before getting into the ink, the plunger is screwed down so that it is closest to the nib end of the pen. The next step:

Note the introduction of the paper towels beneath the well. This is for emergency purposes only, such as when your cat decides to get nosy. The pen is lowered into the well until the nib is completely surrounded by ink. Then the back of the pen is turned in the opposite direction, which causes the plunger to retract, thereby drawing ink into the pen. One more time, the end is turned, this time to force a few drops out. Then the pen is turned with the nib up and the end is turned for the last time to draw a bit of air in. After wiping off any excess ink, you’re ready to write.

To some this may seem like a ridiculous procedure that has long been replaced by the convenience of ball point devices. All I can say is, “To each his own.” I write with these pens all day, day after day. They work perfectly, with less drag than any other I’ve tried. Therefore, until something comes along that’s better, I’ll stick with this. What’s your favorite writing implement? Let me know.

As you can see from the last photo, I’m working on Under A Blue Flag, which is the sequel to An Island Away. Writing a sequel is an opportunity to continue with characters that have room to grow. At the same time, the plot has more twists and turns to iron out. Where did Captain Beck go? What’s going to happen to Hernán? What about Charlie and Luz? These questions and more will be answered. Similarly, I’ve outlined a book titled In Dangerous Company, that in story time comes between An Island Away and Under A Blue Flag. It focuses in on just a few characters and the specifics of their adventures.

Writing is never a linear process for me. I’ll bounce back and forth from one story to another or one section of a single story to another. Stitching it all together is a challenge, sometimes better performed by an editor than the author. We’ll get into that later.

So, I have plenty of material to work with. Time to get back to work.

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Published in: on June 25, 2008 at 8:26 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Best Philadelphia Cheesesteak

This post actually continues where the one about the best roast pork sandwich left off. As mentioned previously, John’s Roast Pork in Philadelphia is the oracle of the griddle, the mecca of artery mashing food. And so, we come to THE BEST PHILADELPHIA CHEESESTEAK, and again, bar none, John’s produces it. Don’t even entertain the idea of going to those other joints you’ve seen on the Travel Channel or some other half-baked joint written up in a lame journal of culinary culpitude.

Here it is, in all it’s glory:

This is a better photo than the one I had from the pork sandwich. (Rest assured, that pork sandwich is drop dead good and just as loaded as the one above. Trust me and my heart surgeon. I am not kidding.) Notice the fullness, the lean beef, the melted-in provolone. Is this thing just the greatest or what? Yeah, I put some sauce on it, too. There’s hot peppers and fried onions integrated into the mix while on the grill. The flavor permeates the first layer of that handsome roll. The crust stands firm, yielding the subtlety of sesame seeds on the outside and meaty freshness on the inside.

Here’s a closer shot:

I mowed this down one bite at a time. My wife, to my astonishment, managed to finish one of her own. Impressive. However, no one beats my cousin. He was working with me on the pier one day and we came here for lunch. He ate two (yeah, that’s double, dos, a two-fer) on that day. This was something to behold and he nearly blacked out. The guy knows what he likes and likes what he knows.

Anyway, always enjoy your cheesesteak with ICE COLD Coca-Cola. Everything is better that way.

Published in: on June 25, 2008 at 12:49 pm  Comments (4)  
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