The Green Ink Quest: Akkerman #28


Following up last week’s post, I spent time poking around online looking for just the right shade of green, and soon realized that ordering a handful of samples was the way to go. (Captain Obvious here.) Those samples arrived from Vanness Pens yesterday. I chose:

Private Reserve Spearmint
Diamine Woodland Evergreen
Robert Oster Green Green
Robert Oster Ryde Green
Akkerman #28/Hofkwartier Groen

There are a few more candidates that weren’t available as samples, but this group should  help me hone in on exactly which shade of green I’m looking for. I partially filled my medium-nibbed TWSBI ECO with the Akkerman #28, then wrote a letter and a journal entry.


Definitely promising. I like the freshness and subtle shading. It’s light but legible. I think I’m looking for just a bit more “pop,” but we shall see. Thanks to those who offered their recommendations, a few of which are among this first batch of samples.

My shoulder has been a bit more sore and achy lately thanks to some new exercises along with ramped up writing and computer work so I’m not journaling as much as I’d like. Despite the discomfort, my two-month, post-surgery followup went well this morning as my doctor feels I’m ahead of schedule with mobility and strength. I’m addicted (in the best way possible) to my pens, inks, notebooks, and paper, so this is a fun little, but not too tiring, project—exploring the freshness of spring with a variety of green inks.

Green leaves — you may believe this or not —
have once or twice
emerged from the tips of my fingers

deep in the woods
in the reckless seizure of spring.

—from Mary Oliver’s “Reckless Poem”

Not that I need more ink, but…

I’m looking for a particular green ink. There’s a glen on campus where I go—sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone—to clear my head. I can walk into those woods with my mind racing and my muscles clenched, and walk out feeling calm and loose. It feels like a sacred place.


It is a sacred place.


In the spring and summer, the greens are spectacular. Right now, the trees are just beginning to show signs of life, so the color palette is predominantly dormant browns and grays, with occasional pops of hopeful green, like in this moss…


That’s the color of ink I’m looking for—that energetic, euphoric, almost fluorescent green. I don’t own a lot of green ink, but the ones I do have slant towards the darker offerings (Sailor Epinard, Platinum Citrus Black), or the muted sagey greens (Mont Blanc’s Jonathan Swift and Daniel Defoe). Blackstone’s Lemur Lime is in the ballpark, but I’d like something a little more legible with a medium nib.

I’ve done some poking around and jotted down a few candidates—Diamine Kelly Green, Diamine Meadow, Robert Oster Green Green, Robert Oster Ryde Green, Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Groen—but it’s so hard to tell from online swatches.

With that color in a pen, I’ll feel like I’m in those woods even when I’m not, which is why I’m on a quest for that mood-lifting green. Any and all suggestions welcome.

Thank you, and happy spring!!

Postcards From the Edge


I do this thing when I travel—or even when I visit a local museum’s gift shop—where I buy a handful of postcards BUT THEN NEVER WRITE AND MAIL THEM. I find that if I don’t send them within the first day or two of a trip, my motivation to do so plummets. I end up carting them home then tucking them away in my basket-o’-stationery where they gather dust. I know this about myself yet I still cannot resist the come hither look of that revolving rack of postcards.

Now here we are. We can’t travel. We can’t visit friends or extended family. We can’t shake hands or hug. We can’t catch up over lunch or coffee. We are glued to Zoom meetings where we’re connected yet disconnected (the current reality that was so well put in this article). We miss our 3D people. I miss my 3D, in-real-life people.

Because of this prudent and necessary isolation, my craving to connect with others is even stronger than my pandemic-induced craving for freshly baked cookies. That’s where my stash of postcards comes in. It’s time for me to grab that stack, a pen (gee…let me see if I can find one), and a sheet of postcard stampsthen write a few every day. The time investment is so small compared to the rewards.

“I’m thinking of you.”

“I wish you were here.”

How important it is to say these words. How important it is to read these words.

“I miss you.”

I do. I really do.

Current Mood(s)


Yeah…that 1962 photo about sums it up.

Like all of us, I’m a jumble of thoughts, feelings, and emotions these days. My mood is directly proportional to how much news I watch, so I’m careful about that. I want to stay informed but not whipped into a mental frenzy. Some nights I sleep great. Other nights I’m the one in this Roz Chast postcard…


Just substitute “Covid-19” for “Ebola”

My shoulder is healing well—despite the fact that I have to be my own physical therapist for the time being. I’m out of the sling and once again able to type and write and lift light things. Thank God. If ever there was a time that I need to be journaling, writing letters, sending cards and blogging, it’s now.

Here we are in this strange new world. We’re ticking along as best we can, tamping down fear, practicing hygiene on steroids, trying to act normal in a very unnormal time. (“Unnormal” is not a word—there’s a red dashed line underneath it—but I’m sticking with it.) We’re finding ways to cope and even to have fun. Remember fun?!


The Mincing Mockingbird folks are my people

Even after the sling came off, I didn’t write a word. I fixated on the news and my plummeting retirement account, paced around the house, and mainlined cookies. I felt so paralyzed. But as the weeks go on, even though the news is not improving, I’m finding ways to feel better. I hope you are, too. My beloved analog tools are saving me.


I’m getting back to using my Theme System Journal with its 2020 theme—Stoicism. (Hoo, boy—was that a prophetic pick, or what?!) The actions I chose and began practicing in January are exactly what I need to be focusing on right now. January and February were mere warm-up sprints for this pandemic marathon. I’m so grateful that I’ve been developing my Stoicism muscles so that I can come back to these familiar and calming practices.


I’m writing morning pages again, too. Because my shoulder is still healing, I typically write one page rather than four, but that’s fine for now. At least I’m getting up early and letting the thoughts and words flow. No matter what they are—fearful, hopeful, funny, or jumbled—I’m getting them out, getting them down. (Since I’m my own physical therapist, I might as well be my own mental therapist, too. Look at the co-pays I’m saving!)


Man, these colors help. The Ellsworth Kelly stamps and this Gene Davis Retro 51 brighten even the gloomy days. Now is not the time for taupe and subtlety. I’m digging into my stationery hoard to write and send letters, notes, and postcards. If we can’t hug in person, let’s hug via the mail. To make sure I have a healthy supply of colorful stamps, I ordered these and these via the USPS website. Home delivery—it’s a beautiful thing.


Turns out I had WAY too many pens inked, so one of my decluttering projects is correcting that. Every day, I flush out and sonicate a few pens to thin the inked pen herd. What a perfect time for a fountain pen reboot. I also picked up another pen case from Pen Chalet and plan to organize my pens by brand. Restoring order—even in a small way—makes me feel less helpless.


On a more somber note, I started keeping a “pandemic journal” the other day because, after all, we’re living through a historic event. I’m keeping track of case counts, death counts, and the associated percentages as a way of tracking the progress of this thing. I can’t wait until I see those numbers stabilizing, then declining. I’m also jotting down a few lines about how I’m feeling, what I’m doing, and how I’m coping. I do fear that I’ll be filling up more than one pocket notebook.


The perfect springtime escape

And of course I’m reading. Plowing through books, actually. This is when I feel best—when I’m settled down for the night with a good book. My own worries, and the troubles of the world, melt away and I’m off on a virtual vacation—to Amherst, MA, in this case. I’ll get there one day, when we are once again free to roam about the country.

So even though, right now, the world feels very much like this…


and this…


this is also true…


Much-needed encouragement courtesy of Baux Pen Co.

WE got this.

And, hey, let me know how you’re doing.