I used up the last few pages of the Muji lined notebook I’d been using for morning pages and started a new-to-me notebook, made by the Life Stationery Company in Japan. The company has been around since 1946 and makes a range of products. These notebooks are available at a variety of online retailers, but I hate buying notebooks sight unseen. Luckily for me, my somewhat local Japanese stationery store stocks them and I picked up the plain version a few months ago. I’ve mostly used plain paper for my morning pages and I like having lots of pages, but it’s a tradeoff between a bulky notebook (my Bindewerk was 144 sheets with hard covers) vs. easy to carry but fairly quick to use up (my Muji was 72 sheets with soft covers).
The Noble Note falls somewhere between the two in terms of expense as well. I have to import the Bindewerks from Germany and the shipping gets quite high, whereas the Mujis are available locally and are at the inexpensive end of the spectrum. You can pick up a Noble Note for about $15 through Amazon (my local store charges $15.95, which I think is pretty reasonable for a small independent retailer).
As readers of this blog know, I’m a fountain pen user from way back. But I’ve never been to a pen show, and I didn’t even know they existed until the wonders of the internet enlightened me. This year I discovered that the Chicago show coincided with the weekend after the end of classes, so TheHusband and I decided to combine a quick holiday with attending our first show.
Neither one of us are pen collectors per se; we both have more pens that we can use in our regular rotation, which makes me, at least, anxious that I’m not treating them properly. We have old but not vintage pens, valuable but not “collector” pens. You get the idea. But I’d been having trouble with one of my nibs, and pen shows have highly skilled nibmeisters on the premises. Plus, all those pens. So off we went.
We were staying in the city near Lake Michigan and the pen show was held in the northwestern suburbs. Since we couldn’t leave home until Saturday morning, we spent the rest of the day we arrived in the city and then drove out to the pen show on Sunday. We got there around noon and bought daily passes. We were immediately drawn to the Franklin-Christoph table (more about that in a bit). I’d read about these pens but seeing them in person was much more satisfying, and they had the full range of nibs available for testing.
We wandered into the main room, which was about the size of a ballroom, and were immediately overwhelmed. So many pens. If you’re a Parker fan you have tables and tables to choose from, but all the brands were well represented. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming to newbie visitors. I chatted with one vintage pen collector/seller, who listened to my description of my faulty nib and thought it was just in need of a simple adjustment. He kindly pointed me to the nibmeister present, Linda Kennedy, whose named I recognized from the Fountain Pen Network website. I wandered over and put my name on her list.