The Los Angeles International Pen Show plays every year in February, typically at the Manhattan Beach Marriott. Since I relocated to SoCal in mid-2001, it is a show I cannot bear to miss. In 2009 I had undergone surgery on my spine at the end of January and was still in rehab in February. I missed the show but somehow managed to survive.
Although a lot of the fun of the show comes from stocking up on favorite writing tools, ink and fountain-pen friendly paper, more joy derives from seeing people who have become an important part of life because of mutual interests. I am a loyalist when it comes to buying my writing paraphernalia. Some suppliers come and go, but some have been around a long and steady time. Often they have answered your multiple requests and given you personal service from hundreds of miles away. Some vendors have catered to us, unbelievably, before the Internet streamlined it so that we could ask those critical questions: Just how red is that red? Is it orangey or pinky or blue red or pure red or . . . Graciously, they write back and post color charts to satisfy our persnickety demands. This industry seems to attract a more-than-generous number of charming and down-to-earth people. Spending time at the pen show guarantees that you will meet interesting people who enjoy sharing opinions on pen stuff along with great stories. When I tell people we are going to the pen show, they look at me in wonder. Pen show? What the heck. No one writes any more.
But they do. And you will find many of them at the pen shows across the country in LA and Chicago and Atlanta and Washington DC and Dallas, to name just a few. I don’t know how many people were at the show today, but it was crowded from the start of the day till late in the afternoon. If you live near a pen show, you should take advantage of it. You will enjoy the experience for the sake of the experience. But, you should also buy yourself an affordable pen that feels good in your hand, and then go home and write. You may find that your pen can help you through some of your worst days better than anything else.
Then, you will understand why some of us light up when someone mentions Pelikan or Lamy, Monteverde or Visconti, Rhodia or Clairefontaine, J. Herbin, Noodler’s, or Iroshizuku.
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© 2004-2011 Donna Peach. All rights reserved.