Imagine – a place where thousands upon thousands of pens lie in trays on tables laid end-to-end, punctuated here and there with an open bottle of ink so that you might dip the nib and try the pen before deciding whether or not you can convince your significant other (or your own self) that you need this pen. Imagine that there is a video report (term loosely dangled about) showing these pens. This video report is professionally shot by a disciple of Wes Anderson or (name your favorite auteur) and narrated by Kenneth Branagh channeling Henry V (think: The St. Crispian Day speech). (Okay, I’m picturing that, and I am having a hard time concentrating all of a sudden.)
Wouldn’t that be a nice video to watch?
Instead, I present… The San Francisco Pen Show shot and edited by… my evil twin! She is more “special” than evil. You’ll see what I mean.
For most pen hobbyists – pennists, if you will – the pen is the thing. Sometimes, it’s the ink or the paper, but, really, it’s the pen. For some of us, it’s the people.
Here, you will meet the friendliest, smiliest pen vendors and pen users and collectors. We love to share our interest in this unusual hobby that most civilians respond to with the incredulously blurted, “You spent how much?!” When you are at a pen show, you are amongst people who will never say that to you. You might hear, “What’d you pay?” There might be discussion over whether or not that was a good deal. But you will never hear uttered, “Why can’t you just use a Bic? They’re two dollars for a bag of ten.” (Yeah, right. Maybe in 1972.)
I have to admit, maybe I’m not the best candidate to document the pens and paraphernalia at a pen show. I don’t look at the pens. I can’t. There are too many. At the LA show earlier this year, I told Ricky (AltecGreen) what I was looking for, and he became my Pen Show Sherpa, bringing me only to the tables where I might find what I was looking for. He was the Concierge for the SF show — for others; I was working with John Mottishaw and Jonella, sharing my enthusiasm for Nakayas, so there was no point for me to wander — and even with the four pen cases holding Nakayas, it took me two days to see them all; they were a blur at first. Too many pens!
In other words, Ricky provided a photographic report of the SF Pen Show with useful captions; my video can be viewed as a complement to it. You can enjoy that here: http://www.fountainpennetwork.
While this video might be short on lingering pen shots, you will get the chance to see the dealers and some of the people behind the screennames that you’ve probably read on Fountain Pen Network or PenTrace or other fountain pen fora. (I’m thinking I should add captions to identify the people, but maybe it’ll be fun for you to guess who is whom in the meantime.)
If you’ve vacillated about going to a pen show – maybe you feel shy or uncertain – just go! As you can see, pen people are friendly. Pen Posses spontaneously form; there are meals – delicious meals (we carpool to restaurants); we show each other our pens and write postcards to fountain pen pals in faraway lands, like Australia and New Jersey and Canada. It’s true! We understand each other.
I always say, “Pen Posse is people!” Pen Shows are, too. If you’re convinced to attend one (and I recommend that you do), check out Susan Wirth’s website for the most comprehensive pen show calendar: http://home.netcom.com/~
San Francisco Pen Show
October 5-7, 2012
Marriott San Mateo SF Airport
Lisa Miyako is a figment of Lisa Miyako’s imagination. They, we… both enjoy using fountain pens, particularly Nakaya, particularly Nakaya’s ruthenium-plated nibs (the full range, from F to M). Ink of choice is Noodler’s Black, with Noodler’s Old Manhattan Black so close behind that it’s practically a tie. But that is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Efforts to pigeonhole Lisa Miyako’s pen and ink tastes tend to meet with obstacles which might explain why Lisa Miyako doesn’t collect pens: It is difficult to cateogorize je ne sais quoi. Having said that, Lisa Miyako admires pen people whose collections show a singularity of focus and understands why some people don’t want to ink and use some of their pens.
Lisa Miyako and her imagination apologize for writing this in the third person. It was awkward for me, too.