For those of us who have never grown out of the excitement of getting new school supplies, the start of a new semester is a heady thing. (Getting high off those fumes is may be what makes the impending mountain of grading bearable, perhaps. And no, I’m not talking about the fumes from those giant, black, industrial-strength markers with the metal bodies that really did make you loopy after five minutes. …or those Trix-scented markers that came in the cereal boxes somewhere around 1992. Anyone else remember those? They were freaky.)
Right now, though, I’m talking about the much-more-intangible scent of fresh notebooks that are destined for particular classes. The odeur of possibility, of promise.
This semester, a passel of Maruman Token notebooks from JetPens.com is what’s perfuming the air. I was looking for an affordable option for course-planning notebooks, something spiral-bound and ruled fairly narrowly that would still stand up to fountain pens, and the Maruman Token fits the bill perfectly. They’re not very large–only 40 sheets in each–but that’s pretty much perfect for class planning (45-ish class meetings and many days when I can double up notes for two classes on one page). Also, I think they’re pretty good-looking critters: quiet, unassuming, smooth covers; very attractive blue-coated wire binding; nifty accented “a” as the cover decoration. (I also like that the design color is reminiscent of Iro Tsuki-yo–more on that in a minute.)
But how does it stand up to what I actually wanted it for? Well, pretty awesomely, even if I cheated and tried out another new toy (a pair of Lamy Joys in 1.1 & 1.5 nibs) on it.
That’s Levenger Regal ink in a Lamy Joy 1.5 calligraphy nib. I am already so extraordinarily pleased I picked up this pen: it makes this saturated purple display the best of its qualities. In a fine nib, it’s a very dark, very assertive ink, and that’s nice, but it doesn’t advertise its purpleness as much as I’d like a purple ink to do. This pen really makes it look, well, regal. Also, this ink can feather a smidge, but it behaves well on the Maruman paper. Huzzah!
Quote is taken from the Old English poem “Deor”: “Þæs ofereode, þisses swa mæg” or “That passed; so shall this.” It’s a favorite of mine.
Then there’s a bit with Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo using a Lamy Joy with a 1.1 nib. I can’t get over how much I like the shading/outlining quality of this ink. I will continue to work at my photography skills so I can someday get a picture that captures that. This time, the quote comes from Beowulf (2890b-2891): “Deað bið sella
eorla gehwylcum þonne edwitlif!” or “Death is better to any earl than honorless life.”
Three other pens/nibs to look at, though the Regal makes a repeat appearance: Levenger True Writer F with Levenger Regal, True Writer M Stub with J. Herbin Bleu Myosotis, Lamy Studio F with Levenger Cobalt.
Okay. There. Review. Sorry to get all infomercially on you, folks, if you’re really not here for that sort of thing.
Let’s talk about what’s going into those notebooks in the morning.
There’s going to be Annie Dillard. I’m teaching Composition II using Pilgrim at Tinker Creek as a touchstone text (because if there’s anyone who can pull together a thousand different kinds of research effortlessly and fascinatingly, it’s Annie Dillard), and I love that book to the ends of the earth. …I quoted Annie Dillard on New Year’s Eve, too. That makes me happy. (She shows up in my Composition I course, too. And I will pull The Writing Life into one of the independent studies I’m directing. That’s three out of five classes she’s guaranteed to come up in. …Beowulf will come up in five out of five, though, because I don’t know how to not-talk about it.)
The other two courses are all about the other side of the pond: British Literature after 1800 & a Jane Austen independent study. That means I get to talk about Robert Burns and Pride and Prejudice and Oscar Wilde and James Joyce and Virginia Woolf and A. L. Kennedy.
I get paid for this.
Life is good.