September 30, 2014

Hand & Pen

My hand holding Roger Cromwell’s Waterman’s #000 “Doll” pen and pretending to write the word “pen”,
photographed by Miroslav Tischler at the DC pen show in 2003.

        When Lion & Pen was suspended the first time, I had a bit of spare time on my hands, and I started playing with a possible list of new forums, but nothing came of it.  The second time it was suspended, I found myself playing with the site itself, as well as the list of forums.  I basically wanted to revise the whole board, but nothing came of it, and this time it was suspended for good.
        First of all, it would have needed
a new image.  Instead of Cross and his image of a lion-with-a-pen-in-its-mouth, the icon for the new board would have been, first of all, MacKinnon’s 1880 image of a pen-in-hand, a hand in the act of writing, or a writing hand, or a Hand Writing, and secondly, it would have been Livermore’s version of this same image of a hand writing, from later the same year.  And because Francis Cashel Brown and Caw’s continued the tradition of the MacKinnon stylograph under a new name, a couple of  tertiary icons would have been the images of the Caw’s ink-filler-in-hand, and the Caw’s Crow sitting atop a Caw’s ink bottle.  It’s an image of ‘a crow sitting on an ink bottle with a label with an image of ‘‘a crow sitting on an ink bottle with a label with an image of ‘‘‘a crow sitting on an ink bottle with a label with an . . .’’’, &c.
        And the new name would have been something like, “Hand & Pen”, or “Pen & Hand”, or “Pen in Hand”, or “Fountain Pen History”, or “Fountain Pen & Pencil History”, or “Fountain Pen & Mechanical Pencil History”.  So I settled on “Hand & Pen”, as an analogue of “Lion & Pen”.

        I preferred that name, but if I would have used it, it would have had to have been made clear from the start that it would have also included mechanical pencils.  And these would have been the forums the new message board would have had.
            Read this first
        Pens & Pencils
            Pen & Pencil History
            Repair and Restoration
            Buy, Sell, Trade
        That would have been it.  Those forums would have been visible to everyone.  Everything else, “All The Old Stuff”, would have been placed in a static forum, The Archived Forums, where a login would have been required for viewing.  The big change would have been that “Introduction”, “Pen History”, “Repair and Restoration”, and “Buy, Sell, Trade” would basically have been the only public forums left.  Old pens, new pens, who cares about the distinction.  Everything is history.  And to hell with all the rest of the forums.  I can’t do anything with them.  What can you do with a forum such as . . . “Chat”?  Everything else would have been bunged into the Archives.  The other big difference would have been that only the above four forums would have been visible to the public.  The rest would have required logging in to be viewed.  Nothing would have been deleted, no single posts, and no complete threads, but all the forums in the Archives would have been “Locked Topics” thereafter.  Nothing would have been lost, but nothing new would have been allowed to have been added to them.  All the forums would have been there for posterity, and as a document of the past version of the board, but that would have been it for “Chat”.
        So there it was, albeit cleaned up quite a bit, but of course, it was all wishful thinking and nothing came of it.  However, if such a message board were to have been placed online, would you have frequented and participated in a board that looked like that?  But then, instead of waiting for L&P to be revived, I created this blog to archive all my posts and threads from L&P and elsewhere on other pen message boards, and I used all of the above ideas to design this new, non-interactive website.  I had also saved a static, mirrored version of the complete L&P up to May 2011, so as it turned out, the whole L&P message board was now one great big “Locked Topic”, and I got to have my way after all.  End game.
        So why all the subjunctives?  This is why, and here it is.  Because nothing came of it.  And what do the above four images have in common?  They’re all Caw’s-related pictures that would have been effectively ghosted into the homepage background.
        Someone once said to me that fountain pen history was under appreciated, and was well worth the time and trouble to discover, but it was a “very tiny rain puddle” in “the flood of history”.  His meaning was that, “No matter what we do, it will never amount to anything more than a tiny puddle in a seemingly limitless ocean”.  In other words, it wasn’t the “true-true”.  But “what is an ocean but a multitude of puddles”?  And no matter how tiny, at least a puddle isn’t a fiction.  So “like Solzhenitsyn, labouring at his pond in Vermont”, I shall continue “beavering away” in my tiny puddle in “exile”, and saying such things as, “Only the facts, Ma’am”.

George Kovalenko.


P.S.  But take a look at my meta-blog,
Hand & Pen.