I spend a lot of time being jealous around pen matters. Not so much about the pens that others own, though, of course, that green monster does rear its ugly little head every now and then (Murex!). 99% of my jealousy comes from seeing, via Instagram, the various gatherings of pen people at shows and regional meet-ups. As a veteran of the DC Pen Show, I know how much fun it is to gather with “your people” for few hours or a few days. I’d take these times over Christmas or my birthday or winning the lottery. (Yeah, no, that last little bit is a lie. I’ll take a Powerball win, oh lottery gods. Because, you know, more pens.)
Anyway, this Saturday morning I was up bright and early, tingling with anticipation for the inaugural meeting of the Greater New York Pen and Ink Group—GNYPIG—pronounced “guinea pig.” This newly formed group—the brainchild of Phil Olin and Dave Rea—was gathering in Pittsford, NY for the first time, and I couldn’t have been any more excited.
I do have a good friend at work who’s acquiring a nice selection of pens and inks, so we’re able to nerd out about that, and Phil lives nearby so we get together now and then, but for the most part, I don’t know of many pen people in my region—the centrally located Mohawk Valley. GNYPIG was established to bring together pen enthusiasts from all over upstate New York—from Albany to Buffalo and everywhere in between.
I’d been out for the evening the night before, and I’d neglected to get things together earlier in the week, so Saturday morning found me randomly stuffing pen cases and ink bottles into a cardboard box to make the road trip with me. Next time I hope to organize my pens and my thoughts a little better. I tagged along with Phil, his wife Ashley, and their friend Jake, to make the two hour drive to Pittsford, NY.
We arrived at the meeting place— The Mile Post School, a charming building that used to be a one-room schoolhouse—just before 2 pm. [insert the picture I neglected to take] Dave and his wife Kelly were already there setting up snacks and pen party supplies. As more folks arrived from points east, west, and south, we shoved tables together, opened up our pen cases, and dove in. It didn’t take long for a wonderful chaos to tumble onto the tables as we fell into happy chats and inky fun.
I was so excited that I neglected to take enough pictures. (Sorry.) I also should’ve jotted down everyone’s name and contact information. (Next time.) The three hours sped by in a blur, like a cartoon clock with hands that spin through hours in just a few seconds. Suddenly it was time to pack up, head out for dinner, and hit the road for the drive home.
There’s nothing like time spent with pen people to boost your spirits. We’re wonderfully alike while also being fantastically different. It’s so cool to meet people in real life who you know only as a Twitter handle or an Instagram avatar. Friendship comes easily, even for an introvert like myself.
The current plan is to meet on a quarterly basis, and to move the meetings around. Are you located in upstate New York and a lover of pens? Please check out the GNYPIG website and #gnypig on Instagram, and plan to join us next time.
I. CAN’T. WAIT.