The Day the Stationery Store Came to Me

Last Saturday afternoon, after spending a couple of hours writing a letter at our local bookstore, I came home to find a large and heavy box on our front porch. The thought bubble over my head read “?????” I’m successfully sticking to my “No Buy” pledge so I knew it wasn’t anything I’d ordered. Upon closer inspection, I noted that the return address belonged to one of my pen friends, but this piece of information just added to the mystery. What the heck could it be???

I didn’t even take off my coat before slashing open the carton. Sweet anticipation. Flipping open the carton’s cardboard flaps revealed a sight to behold. A treasure trove. The mother lode. Inkapalooza 2023!!

The carton revealed 25 carefully wrapped and labeled bundles, the meaning of which was revealed in the enclosed note:

“I read about your self-imposed stationery purchasing ban. I thought I could ease your pain a little with the contents of this box. There is no week 52 since I expect you will be placing an Anderson Pens order that week. All the best, Paul.

Now the thought bubble over my head was filled with “!!!!!!!” as puzzlement shifted to joy. Pure ink joy.

Paul, once an avid ink reviewer, has trimmed his personal collection down to twelve favorite inks, and is now pursuing other interests that benefit both himself and his young family, like cooking and furniture-making. Thus his divestment of this abundance of inky riches.

After a flash of desire to unwrap everything right then and there, my first-born rule-follower tendencies kicked in and I knew I’d get the most fun from following the directions of Paul’s letter to a tee. Since the shipment arrived on February 25th, I HAD TO unwrap the first few bundles to play catch up. <twist my arm> Here’s what Santa Paul sent my way for weeks 2, 4, 6, and 8:

Week #2Lamy Tipo (Coffee) and a Noodler’s Dixie #10 in Methuselah Ebonite

Week #4—Pelikan Brilliant Brown, Parker Quink (blue), and Waterman Serenity Blue

Week #6—Cult Pen’s Diamine “Deep Dark” Brown, Orange, Red, Blue, Green, and Purple

Week #8—J. Herbin’s Lie De Thé, Ambre De Birmanie, and Poussiére De Lune

Amazingly, these are all “new to me” pens and inks—there’s not a repeat of anything in my own collection so far. I’ve been using the Lamy Tipo all week, and am journaling with Waterman Serenity Blue, Pelikan Brilliant Brown, and Diamine Deep Dark Blue and Brown. So many more to try.

Today’s morning pages were written with Diamine Deep Dark Brown

Obviously there’s A LOT of ink here, so as the time progresses I’ll come up with some ways to share this windfall, to spread the joy around. Being on the receiving end of such generosity has also inspired me to look at my own stationery stashes with a critical eye and to brainstorm ways to share some accumulated treasures. What a fun little project to contemplate.

But for now, I’m having a blast unwrapping, savoring, using, and anticipating using, this unexpected gold mine of ink. (Ink mine?!) Even though the March weather plods on in in its grey and gloomy mood, my pens and journals are alive with color and cheerfulness.

Thank you, Paul, for this stationery store in a box. I promise to pay your kindness forward.

With gratitude,

Yes, there’s ink. But is there joy?

I started stalking the InkJoy pens at Staples as soon as I stumbled onto the big display with its array of leashed pens and scratch pads for public scribbling. I always make scribbly circles on these in-store pen test drive pads…no words. I wonder why that is? (Riveting stuff, my questions.)

Initially I fought down the urge to buy a pack because, have I mentioned, I HAVE ENOUGH PENS?! But then there was a Staples internet coupon, and who has the willpower to resist pens AND $2.00 off. Not me.

The InkJoy line comes in a numbered series, sort of like BMWs (except not). This link explains the differences between the 100, 300, 500, and 700 series. I chose the 500RT series because Staples’ stock was pretty well ravaged. Buzzards circled the few remaining packs. I probably would’ve chosen this series anyway, because of the colors, the RT (retractable) version, and the look of the grip. Shoo..buzzards.

So…how do they write? The line is 1.0mm…pretty bold. The colors are fairly dark/saturated, especially for ballpoint inks, and the inks are decently smooth. Not quite Jetstream or Surari smooth, but a step (or two) up as far as the usual Papermate fare goes.

My only beef is with the tip size. 1.0 mm is broader than I’m used to writing with (now that I’ve discovered 0.38, 0.4, and 0.5 mm pens) so the line feels less precise and just a little messy…not super crisp, is what I’m saying. And sometimes there’s that annoying little blob of ink when you first put the pen to paper. Once the blob clears (and it’s not ALWAYS there), the experience is pretty good.

So is there JOY? Mmmmmm…maybe more satisfaction than outright joy. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.



Edited to add:

This morning at Staples…

All gone. Even the tied down display pen. Hah!