Change can be scary. The path between point A and B never seems to be a straight line. It is filled with twists and turns, false starts and false stops, missteps and side steps. It always seems to take longer than you’ve anticipated, and you may not even recognize the destination once you’ve arrived. Sometimes, you may start your journey without knowing where you’re going, and in today’s fast-paced world, just keeping track of where you’ve been can be a challenge.
The Traveler’s Notebook is a revered product in the pen and paper community. All the cool kids have one, but for a long time, I wondered what the fuss was about; I was perfectly happy with my Midori MD notebooks and Rhoda notepads. Then, about six months ago, as I was getting to the end of a notebook and deciding what to buy next, I had a bit of an existential crisis.
Kaweco Palm Green ink As I mentioned in my review of Diamine Meadow, I am not a connoisseur of green ink. I had a grand total of three specimens (J. Herbin Vert Empire, J. Herbin Vert Olive, and Iroshizuku Shinryoku) sitting on my self until I picked up Meadow. Vert Empire and Shinryoku were too dour to be of interest to me, and Vert Olive is so vibrant as to be all but unusable.
I’m late to the podcast game. While technically savvy people have been listening to the format for years, I never quite found a set of shows that compelled me to listen. I could catch This American Life and Radiolab on my local NPR station, and I had only so much space on my phone, and I tend to go on broad musical explorations that wander from female-fronted symphonic metal to contemporary classical to dubstep to the complete works of Mahler to the Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording.
I’m a big fan of red ink. Red is my favorite color - I’m drawn to its vibrancy and dynamism. If the color red has a drawback, though, it is the quality that makes it so interesting: the high degree of contrast that makes it stand out from the crowd. In nature, red is an attention getting color, sending one of a number of messages depending on the organism in question: I am poisonous, I am ripe, I am dangerous, I am delicious.
Words matter. More so than self awareness, tool use, and opposable thumbs, language is the characteristic that best defines humanity. We are a species that has words and knows how to use them: to hurt and to heal, to communicate and confound, to define ourselves and others. On a global scale, wars have been won, lost, and waged over words; religions founded and fractured based on the interpretation of words; cultures cultivated and sustained through the repetition of words.
I began my review of the eight Kaweco ink colors with Pearl Black, though Royal Blue was the first bottle I actually opened. Any manufacturer’s version of “ballpoint pen blue” is usually a safe bet - it’s like trying the crème brûlée at a new restaurant, or the pale ale at a new brewery. It’s a known quantity with minimal variables that provides an easy avenue for comparison. In my collection, Kaweco Royal Blue is most similar to Lamy Blue, but with a more intense color.
Three years ago, I took stock of my ever-expanding ink collection. It feels like it’s time to tackle that process again. Here is the full list of ink bottles that I own, most of which are pictured above: De Atrementis Aubergine Diamine Blaze Orange Damson Imperial Purple Indigo Jet Black Meadow Midnight Monaco Red Oxblood Red Dragon Registrar’s Ink Sepia Everflo Blue Black Orchid J.
In the years since I began my fountain pen obsession, I’ve amassed a fair quantity of ink from a wide variety of manufacturers, but I’ve never been in the position to review the full range of one manufacturer’s offerings. Thanks to the fine people at Kaweco, though, I have all eight colors that they offer, so I can compare and contrast within the line as well as without. When I first received the big box of ink, ink cartridges, and pens that Kaweco sent my way, I was at a bit of a loss.
The USS Lexington is the oldest surviving aircraft carrier in the world. Commissioned in 1943, it saw extensive service as part of the Pacific fleet during WWII, where it developed a reputation for being impossible to sink - so much so that Japanese navy began referring to it as a “ghost” ship. This reputation, coupled with it’s blue camouflage scheme, earned the ship the moniker “The Blue Ghost.” Since then, the Lexington has had a long career, acting first as an attack carrier, then as an anti-submarine carrier, and finally as a training carrier.