Why A Fountain Pen?

Today I was in one of my haunts, doing a bit of writing. Of course I was using a fountain pen. A lady happens by and asks me, “Is that really a fountain pen?” I said that it was. She then asked, “Why would you use one?” Well, in the first place I write upwards of 2500 words per day in one form or another. Do that day after day and the equipment used becomes very important. A fountain pen has much less “drag” across the paper. All this I explained and the lady says, “Why not just use a computer and type it in the first place?”

That last question is much deeper than the first. Everyone has their method of writing. For me, I typically write a story long hand first and then type it into a computer later. This serves two purposes: The first draft can be conducted anywhere, without electricity or a computer. When I type it, it instantly becomes a second draft as I edit on the fly while inputing the text.

But what about that archaic writing instrument, namely the fountain pen? Well, it’s simply cool, for lack of more elegant explanation. Fountain pens require a bit of care and respect. They become heirlooms. They can be messy, but mine have never let me down in that respect. They also take on the character of the writer in terms of the type of pen and ink utilized.

Does it make sense? Not really. It’s one of those quirks that makes us human. Beyond that, I offer no better explanation.

Published in: on September 30, 2008 at 8:18 pm  Comments (3)  
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The Pickup Truck and Life

My oldest brother once said, “You have to have a truck to tote your stuff.” He was right. I’ve always owned a pickup, typically a Chevrolet Silverado. Over the years I’ve had both new and used and they’ve never let me down. They were there to tote my stuff, other people’s stuff, business stuff, and stuff that belonged to someone I didn’t even know.

More than the utility value is the simple pleasure of heading down the road with an ice-cold Coca-Cola in your hand, the radio on, and your favorite person in the passenger seat. This is as American as Ben Franklin, the Grand Canyon, and the Stars and Stripes. I know they burn too much fuel. I know they’re big and clunky. I know all the reasons why some people think they’re the root of evil. That is until they need one. Then they’re on the phone looking for a pal with a set of keys to something with capacity to haul and horsepower.

There are ways to drive your truck responsibly and burn the least amount of fuel. Coast up to those red lights, set the cruise control on 68, and don’t jump from stop sign to stop sign. Make sensible trips by combining your tasks. Go shopping with your pal so you take advantage of all that cargo space. These methods all work. They also help to make the road a safer, friendlier place.

So life is full of contradictions. No surprise there. The pickup is one of those. But its so much fun and so darn useful that we’re stuck with it until something better comes along.

Published in: on September 29, 2008 at 6:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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Ucles, Spain

As much as the large cities of Spain are full of wonderful things to see and do, so are the small towns. One town in particular that I found interesting was Ucles. There’s a monastery there, built on the foundations of an old castle. Here’s a look up at it from a small cemetery down in the town.

There are a couple of boutique hotels in this town that offer very comfortable accommodations. You’ll also find a few small restaurants that will serve local cuisine. Staying in a town like this gives the opportunity to sit with the residents in their tabernas and to hear about their lives in an unfiltered way. This is a favorite activity of mine and leads to great material for my novels.

Published in: on September 28, 2008 at 1:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bicycles, Aruba

Tri-Bike Aruba offers a number of bicycling options. They sell and rent bicycles. I’m also told that they will deliver them to your hotel, but I’ve never actually done that. I did purchase a mountain bike from them. The fellow who runs the shop knows his stuff. Here’s a look at their store in Santa Cruz.

Inside you’ll find a decent selection of road and mountain bikes as well as all kinds of accessories. They also do repairs if you meet with disaster. Fortunately, I haven’t had that happen just yet.

There are a number of bicycling groups on the island. I see them riding past my house, especially at the weekend. Please share the road with those of us who like to pedal our way from one end to the other. Masha danki!

Published in: on September 27, 2008 at 2:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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