On Books and Things


Books. And things. I mentioned several days ago that I had a new obsession: bullet journaling. You probably now know about my love affair with books of all kinds, but bullet journals are something new. New to me, anyway!
I have resisted buying a new journal and am still using my “Plans for World Domination” notebook to try it out. In an effort to learn as much as I can, I am using Instagram as a visual guide, and have even joined two challenges there: #RockYourHandwritingChallenge and #planwithmechallenge. Who knows if I’ll actually finish the challenges (and truth is, I rather like my handwriting as-is), but they are fun to help me immerse myself in a new world and don’t take any time to do. Here are photos from the first couple of days of the handwriting challenge. No biggie, right?

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Although it seems so very intuitive, I laugh at my struggle of overcoming the lack of a traditional calendar view in bullet journaling. There are no boxes. Yes, I could draw boxes in if I needed to, but then I have created another calendar. I am trying to just use text. It’s such a small thing but is a bigger challenge than I realized. Who would have thought?

I also get a little spooked at the lack of future planning capabilities in the bullet journal. Yes, there are hacks to fill that need, but I am so scared that I will completely forget something I have committed to do. Of course, I am afraid of that when I use a regular calendar too, so I should probably just get over myself, huh?

I am seriously resisting the urge to buy a new fountain pen. When I started learning cursive writing, way back in the fourth grade (yes, that’s when we started it then, don’t ask me why), we had to use a fountain pen. Thus started a lifelong love affair for me. There is something about that nib and ink that makes me slow down and be more mindful of my writing. Sadly, I’ve realized that my favorite pen, a MontBlanc Meisterstück, given to me for my college graduation, is not where I thought it was. I am not really panicking, merely frustrated that I can’t lay my hands on it. (My office is seriously overdue for a major mucking-out, so it will probably turn up soon.)

My missing pen. Have you seen it anywhere?

In any event, I won’t be buying one quite as wonderful as that one, but I would love to have a less-expensive, everyday fountain pen too. I’m trolling The Goulet Pen Company and JB Welly sites today, coveting this Pilot Metropolitan pen (and this notebook too, if you must know).

Pilot Metropolitan, comes in lots of great colors, but I love the red
Leuchturm 1917, A5, dotted, Anthracite









Speaking of books, I asked friends on Facebook for recommendations for some good reads this week and, holy cow, there are now a ton more on my list. Two that were suggested more than once were, The Martian, and Reading Claudius, so I’m pretty sure I’ll be reading those soon. I was surprised to see that I am actually ahead of schedule in my quest to read 52 books this year. I just finished the ninth, The Forgotten Garden, and the tenth, Through the Veil (by Colleen Halverson, the daughter of my Facebook friend, Claudette). I will admit that Through the Veil is a genre I don’t ordinarily read but I really enjoyed it. It is very fast-paced, with lots of excitement, and way more than I ever knew about Irish mythology.

Through the Veil, by Colleen Halvorsen

Being re-introduced to journals and even so many more books than I usually read has been really refreshing, to say the least. I feel I am seeing old friends, and making some new ones too. In some ways, these are slow-life pleasures, the first things to get shoved out of the way when times are busy. I can’t promise they won’t get shelved again in future, but for now, I’m really enjoying them.

How about you? Are you a book or journal nerd? Do you love fountain pens? Do you have a favorite? I’d love to hear!

  • And so it should come as no surprise to me that we have other shared interests . . . pens (love the feel of a fountain pen scratching across paper); paper (I’m rather particular – can’t stand bleed through.); and bullet journaling (I did it before it had a name.). I buy myself fountain pens for special occasions. My most favorite is the Mont Blanc that my husband’s grandfather used to pen letters home to his new bride during WWI. I used it when I compiled those letters and wrote a bit of contextual info about where he served, etc. Unfortunately, I fell prey to the Be a Good Girl Syndrome and gave it to my husband when I finished. We haven’t seen it since.

    • Lori East

      More shared interests, indeed! I suspected you liked good paper, but didn’t realize you liked pens too. How sad that your MontBlanc went away, though. I was getting kind of frantic when I couldn’t find mine.

      My hubs is delighted that he now has a new “thing” when he needs a gift for me. He’s a great gift-giver anyway, but this just adds to his possibilities. Unfortunately, he may not get a chance to buy me any, though…my self-control is not at its best at the moment.

  • cindy parry

    Read The Paris Architect…age prevents me from instant recall of the author but it is quite the page turner … very intense!!! Loved it. As for pens, I was jealous of your MontBlanc. How nice to own one ever! I’d be afraid to own one because they can be so easily misplaced. I had a favorite mechanical pencil that had a nice weight and a jelly like barrel – easy to write with. Had it for years. It walked off last year. Whoa am I. As for pens, I really like having a pen long enough … even a simple Bic or Papermate… until it runs out of ink 🙂

    • Lori East

      Oh, thanks for the recommendation. It sounds like a great book! I am downloading it to my Kindle as I type.

      Yes, I love my pen. I was really upset when I thought I’d lost it. Usually, I don’t allow it to leave my desk simply because I’m afraid it will end up far, far from home.
      I actually love all kinds of pens…there’s so much potential in simple ink and paper, isn’t there?

      I’m sticking my toes into the world of bottled ink now. I’ve ordered some samples to try and afraid that will be a whole new rabbit hole…so many amazing colors!

  • Wendy Tuma

    Ok, I will admit that I have wanted a fountain pen for quite awhile. The pens you highlight are drool worthy, and now I have it bad. And there’s always an excuse for another journal, except that I am horrible at journaling. I do like them for doodling though. Thanks for the book suggestions. I just finished a book and I’m looking for another.

    • Lori East

      Wendy, the Pilot Metropolitan is really reasonable…you can easily find them for under $15 and the reviews are quite good. I will be able to tell you more in a couple of days…I am really have to work hard not to order gazillions of them. Ditto for the journals. Have you seen all the colors the Leuchtturm comes in? Ack!! And, while you’re right that there’s always an excuse for another journal (and they look so amazing lined up on a shelf), here too I need to be careful. I could have them all in nothing flat. I AM thinking of ordering an unlined one to use as a sketchbook. Why not? Blank paper is blank paper, and if it comes in a pretty cover, all the better.

      The Martian really has my attention right now. I am a little more than halfway through it but am absolutely dying to see how it’s resolved. I typically don’t read this genre either, but it came so highly recommended that I figured I had nothing to lose. See Cindy’s recommendation below too…I can’t wait to read that one. Not enough hours in the day!!

      • Wendy Tuma

        I am positively drooling over the Leuchtturm journals with matching pens! Which color or, how many?? Good grief — I just got my new Prismacolor pencils last night (love!) together with my new FaberCastell PITT pens (happy!). I suddenly feel the need to write amazing journal entries, with a matching pen. And don’t get me started on books, but I’m definitely going to look into your book recommendation as well as Cindy’s!

        • Lori East

          I know, right? All those photos of them all together is just vicious. I want them ALL.

          Glad your pencils came! I really love them, although they do spoil you for ever using anything else.

          I write my journal entries in fountain pen, usually, but my sketchbook is fair game for anything and everything. That said, I’m using a plain old Paper Mate pencil in it right now and am hating it. Trying to convince myself that I don’t NEED any Blackwing pencils. Here, if you’re interested: http://palominobrands.com/blackwing/

          Yes, yes, I AM an enabler, now that you mention it.

          • Wendy Tuma

            I’m almost as bad in an art store as I am in a quilt shop. Almost. Depends on the day. Office supply stores can fit the bill in a bind. Just came across this place too. Almost scared to look. http://cwpencils.com/

            Says one enabler to another.

          • Lori East

            Oh.my.gosh, Wendy!! All I had to do was click the link and see the photo of all those pencils…yikes! That looks like the door to a rabbit hole. What fun! Let’s go look!

            Yes, I am pretty bad in the art store too. There was a Blick in Pasadena between the Convention Center and our hotel that I managed to get into. Unfortunately, at that point I didn’t know the route very well and the person I was with didn’t want to look. I was a little miffed but it was just as well, I didn’t have room in my suitcase for all the stuff I might have bought. It’s probably as well that there aren’t any major art stores near where I live now, or paper stores. There ARE a couple of quilt stores. Whew.

          • Wendy Tuma

            I have a little bit of a drive to get to a Blick’s, so that’s probably a good thing (although I don’t always think so). Quilt shops, however, are much closer! 🙂

          • Lori East

            I can see me making a drive to get to Blick, although I usually just happen on them (or order online). The closest one to me is about 2-1/2 hours away, downtown Kansas City, and usually when I am there, it is the wrong time of day to head downtown. There is also one in St. Louis, but that’s more like 4-1/2 hours.
            There are three quilt shops in my area, and all are about 1/2 an hour away. It’s much less expensive for me than when I have lived within two or three miles.
            In the meantime, for art supplies, anyway, I can make do with Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, although I prefer not to.

  • cindy parry

    Y’all, I love a pen and ink with changeable nibs. I still have them. Once, many moons ago after years of using pen, ink, and nibs, I dipped the pen and nib into the bottle of ink and somehow the nib caught the edge of the bottle. FYI – black india ink does not come out of carpet well. Just sayin’

    • Lori East

      Sigh, Cindy, you’re right. Ink is a nasty animal. I am scoping out where in my house is best to refill my pens (instead of my desk which is where I’m likely to think of it).

      I haven’t used a pen with changeable nibs since art classes in high school, but am now tempted to give it a try again. I am so enjoying my reawakened love of all things pen and ink! And paper too. There is something so meditative about using them.

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