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To some this may seem like a ridiculous procedure that has long been replaced by the convenience of ball point devices.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.