Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Evolution of a Geek

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I started out intending to write about fountain pens and fell down a rabbit hole, so I'm sharing my meanderings with you, dear readers. I have become, in no small part thanks to my friend (and our regular JRW commenter) Gigi Norwood, a fountain pen "enthusiast." What began as an effort to improve my handwriting (and the idea that I might some day treat myself to that writerly status symbol, a Mont Blanc) mushroomed into something much more dangerous--I think I now have to call myself a "collector." 

First it was a few inexpensive plastic pens. Then a few more "nicer" pens, and those led to these babies--


which are the grown-up equivalent of My Little Ponies, but you can call them "office supplies." They're made by BENU, a mom and pop company that began in Moscow. When Russia invaded Ukraine, Benu was able to move to Armenia, where they are once again making pens, thank goodness. (This photo does not begin to do Benu pens justice at all!! The resins are almost 3D and they sparkle!)

While I'm still a rank amateur in the world of pen fanciers, my Instagram feed is now filled with dreamy pen and ink photos. 

I watch pen videos. I have more inks than I can ever use. I know about nib sizes. I've discovered that there are pen conventions! (There is, in fact, a big pen show in London twice a year, and I am going to miss the autumn show by two days!)

I no longer, however, hanker after a Mont Blanc. If I were going to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a pen (not!) there are more appealing options.

When I converted my latest Benu pen from cartridge/converter to eyedropper fill, I knew I had officially become a fountain pen geek



And here's the rabbit hole: Is "geek" still a pejorative term?" According to Wikipedia, the word "geek" typically connotes an expert or enthusiast obsessed with a hobby or intellectual pursuit.
But the derivation of geek is from the Middle Low German word geck, which means freak or fool.

Is a geek the same as a nerd, and is one term more flattering than the other? Is it now culturally cool to be either?

What do you think, REDS and readers? Do you identify as a geek? And what path does your geekiness take? When does being a "fan" cross the line into being a nerd?

(We are all book nerds, or we wouldn't be reading this blog...)

**KATHY BOONE REEL is the winner of Zac Bissonnette's loot!

89 comments:

  1. Okay, I love the sparkly fountain pens! I must check those out . . . .

    I think the current [much more positive] meaning geek is much more appealing . . . .
    What am I geeky about [besides books]? Geodes, meteorite samples, rocks that once lived on the moon, space stuff . . . .

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    1. I love your geekiness, Joan. I was a "rock hound" growing up and still love learning about rocks and minerals. I brought home gorgeous geode from my trip to Round Top last year.

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    2. I just found a stash of rocks I collected in Sonora County CA 15 years ago, and got out my rock book to try and figure out what they are, so, yes, I’m a geology geek too! (Susan Shea)

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    3. I thought I was alone being a "rock hound" but I now know that Joan, DEBS and Susan are my fellow geology geeks!

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  2. Kathy Boone ReelJuly 26, 2022 at 1:39 AM

    I am absolutely a geek, Debs. I am almost embarrassed to admit that I still love toys, and I have become a Funko Pop geek, I mean collector. This particular obsession started last fall when I ordered the Funko Pop Hocus Pocus Pops/figures of the three Sanderson sisters, Billy Butcherson, and Dani. I became somewhat addicted after that, but I have to control it somewhat (I believe this wholeheartedly) because I don't have room for all of the ones I want. However, to name a few others I have, they include the Halloween Simpsons, Jughead, Alfred E. Newman, Forest Gump, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Harry Potter ones, The Princess Pride ones, and Little Shop of Horrors. My latest ones are Stranger Things, which are wildly popular right now. I've had to get some for my granddaughter, too. If you buy these when they first come out, you can usually get them from $11 to $17, but some of them jump in price and become scarce. You keep them in the box if you're collecting them, but I have some Halloween and Christmas opened. For an example of what can happen due to popularity, two of the Stranger Things pops I bought for $11.99 each are now selling for over $100 each. I hope my kids like their inheritance. They're so much fun. Of course, my book geekness has been going strong for many years.

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    1. Kathy Boone ReelJuly 26, 2022 at 1:43 AM

      Debs, I meant to tell you how beautiful your pens are, Debs. And, I think it was you who led me to buy the Pentel gel ink pens after you said you signed books with them. Is that right?

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    2. Kathy Boone ReelJuly 26, 2022 at 4:05 AM

      That should have been Princess Bride, not Princess Pride.

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    3. Funko Pop! Thank you Kathy!! My granddaughter is into those... today's Beanie Babies?

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    4. Kathy, you are the winner of Zac's giveaway! Please email him zbissonnette at gmail dot com!

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    5. Kathy, I had no idea about Funco Pop!! You've opened a whole new world to me! Now I'm in trouble. They even have Kamala Khan, my newest (geeky) girl hero!

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    6. Kathy Boone ReelJuly 26, 2022 at 1:48 PM

      Oh boy, I had a lengthy response typed out and lost it before I'd copied it (in case that happened). Geesh. I'll type some of it back. Hallie, I think the Funko Pops are similar to collecting the Beanie Babies, but I think it might be a more serious type of collecting with the science fiction and fantasy fans involved. What does your granddaughter like in the Funko Pop? Debs, the Funko Pops are so much fun and have so many characters from so many different books and movies and TV shows and retro cartoons and such, and there are different products other than the single Pops. The first Funko Pop product I bought was a Harry Potter Advent Calendar. Now I have to get my granddaughter one, too. Each year they come out with a new one, but 2022 isn't out yet. Behind each door for each date is a small Funko Pop Harry Potter character (Pocket Pops). They have different calendars for other Pops, too, like Marvel characters. I just got a Funko Pop Halloween count-down calendar with various spooky characters from Funko, 13 days of count-down. There are also Funko character games called FunkoVerse that come with small Funko Pops (bigger than the Pocket Pops). I have a Harry Potter, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Peter Pan one. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention some of the coolest full size Funko Pops I have. They have the Clue characters, from Miss Scarlet to Professor Plum. So cool. I'm betting Wren would enjoy some of the Funko Pops. They have all sorts of Disney ones.

      Lucy, yay. I'm so glad I won Zac's book. After his post, I drowned myself in Barry Manilow music. I'll email Zac. Thanks.

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  3. I probably am a geek, but I don't tend to think of myself as one.

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    1. And those pens look wonderful. I can certainly see the appeal.

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  4. Another geek here. As mentioned earlier, I was lucky to study geology for 4 years in high school. Not too many Toronto teens were known to carry a geology pick in town. I have been a Star Trek fan(atic) watching the TOS (The Original Series) on re-runs since the 1970s. The current set of 5 new Star Trek TV shows has this Trekkie in sci-fi heaven.

    And I am an overall science nerd. When I was in Albuquerque NM for Left Coast Crime, I also spent several free afternoons at the Museum of Natural Science and History in Old Town as well as the Turquoise Museum. I enjoyed the dinosaurs, rocks & minerals, and a decent climate change exhibit.

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    1. I was always a Star Trek nerd, Grace, although I haven't kept up with every new iteration. More to watch!

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  5. I love the pens! A friend, who has been my best friend now for 45 years, got me into fountain pens after we met, but my habit has fallen away. It might be something to resurrect.

    Geek? Nerd? Not quite, although some might call me that. If I were a geek about anything, it would be words and language.

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  6. I *thought* I was a geek, but amid this fierce competition, I'm a piker. Bird feathers that I've picked up while walking is about my only collection. Just picked up a golden feather from a yellow-shafted flicker, and a teeny tiny black one that a chickadee left in my bird bath. I do admire fountain pens. I have a friend who's a jeweler who has a healthy sideline business repairing high-end fountain pens. His collection is aMAZing.

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    1. Ooh, I'd love to see your friend's pens. The Benu partners had worked in fine watch and jewelry design. Benu is another name for the Phoenix. https://www.benupen.com/about-benu

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    2. Kathy Boone ReelJuly 26, 2022 at 2:16 PM

      Hallie, I think your feather collection sounds fascinating. Now I'm thinking of a children's book about birds and their feathers. Or, of course, a bird feather or feathers as a clue in a mystery.

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  7. Nope not a collector, except as you heard, of books! Besides, you might remember how many things including pens and glasses that our Lottie chewed up. Imagine if it was expensive pens...

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    1. I know! I tried to talk you into s Key West themed pen (not a Benu). Is Lottie still chewing things?

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    2. Roberta, my friend's mini Aussies have eaten her hubby's five thousand dollar hearing aids twice!

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  8. Debs, your pens are very cute. And a pen convention? I would never thought it existed but I understand your disappointment at not being able to go.
    I know that as a writer you want to use the exact word to describe something so you ask if we identify as a geek.
    However I don’t like to be put in a frame, I’m a passionate reader and I don’t care how others categories me. I also think that being enthusiast or passionate can only be positive.
    Danielle

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    1. Oh I agree, Danielle. And I'm certainly using the word in a positive way. I just think it's interesting that the cultural perception of a "geek" is changing,

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  9. Wow... I love your sparkly pens! I have a friend who is a wonderful calligrapher and has all sorts of art supplies. Other friends make homemade, crafty, lovely cards. I'm not a collector. I pretty much don't like having too much stuff and am not good at taking care of it, or even remembering where it is. I do embroider counted cross stitch projects, and I know I have too many cross stitch supplies (never the particular colors I need though!). So far it's confined to one drawer. I do geek out about sunrises and am fortunate to live 7 minutes (walking) from a great spot where I can watch the light come into the world behind Mt. Hood and take photos with my I-phone. Sunrises and urban wildlife are my things.

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    1. The nice thing about pens is that most of them go in one small zipped bag and they are always one or the other of my desks.

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    2. Yes! small is good! I geeked out this am.. one of the juvie red tail hawks was squawking in a nearby tree --just delightful way to start the day (after reading JRW of course!)

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  10. I love admiring pens. But I don't buy them. Too impractical. I have other things to spend money on. Like books. LOL

    I think both "geek" and "nerd" have evolved to be more positive terms than even as recently as the 80s. I definitely remember both being used with derision by classmates (usually talking about me or my friends). But my son once said, "I wish I could be a nerd, but I'm just not."

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    1. Oh that is too funny, Liz. Nerds are now definitely cool!

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  11. I love a good writing implement, but I don't collect them. What I do hang on to are magazines for my collaging; every now and again I cull them, but mostly I keep them. However, I don't think I've reached nerd or geek status (yet).

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  12. Your pens are lovely, Debs, and if they make you happy, wonderful! I received a red Mont Blanc pen as a gift from a mortgage lender when I was a realtor. It is much cherished because we became couples friends who did tons of fun things together. He and his wife are now located in Florida. She is still my #1 book buddy. During the pandemic, I mailed her my entire collection of Deborah Crombie books which she read and returned. XXOO

    Geek and nerd weren't even words when I was a kid. Right? The meanings of those terms have evolved over the years since I first heard them. When people self-identify as one or the other, however, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. They aren't words I use to describe myself.

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    1. I'd love to see your Mont Blanc, Judy. Do you write with it? I do have one, a gift from a brother-in-law who worked at Luxury Brands for a while. It's just an okay pen. The ones I coveted were the writers editions (of course.)

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  13. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 26, 2022 at 9:02 AM

    Oh, those pens are gorgeous! And I love beautiful pens. And now I am tempted to try a fountain pen, although… Well, I don’t see the draw. But I trust your judgment, so I will experiment when I can. I do love other kinds of gorgeous pens, and I am always searching for the perfect one to sign books with. They have to be smooth, and no blobs or drips or skips, and not too thin. I remember Sue Grafton used to carry around an entire box of Flair pens, with the calligraphy point. if the pen barely began to run out, the moment the line wasn’t perfect anymore, she would toss the pen and use another one. And an author I interviewed recently was very sweetly specific about what kinds of pens she wanted the bookstore to provide. Book signing is a very personal thing! What kind of pen do you use to sign, reds and readers? I usually default to thick sharpies. No thin points.
    And I think we can call ourselves geeks or nerds, but probably can’t call other people that. My vote. Gorgeous collection, Debs!

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    1. I always sign with a purple EnerGel, medium tip, and make sure I have several with me. Are fountain pens extra tricky for lefties, Hank?

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    2. I'm a lefty, Edith, and I write with fountain pens all the time. It think my advantage is that I'm not a hook-handed writer, so I don't drag my hand across the stuff I've just written. Typically, the only time I become an ink-stained wretch is when I'm refilling one of my pens.

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    3. I usually sign with a purple EnerGel, too, Edith! Fountain pens are tricky for book signing. Often the paper is too porous for the ink. And you certainly don't want to leave a drip or a blob on somebody's book. I don't use Sharpies, Hank. The smell gives me a headache. The EnerGels are great, 0.7 point.

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    4. Hank, when next we get together, I'll try to have some pens for you experiment with. The Benus write beautifully and don't leak or spit up.

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    5. Hank, are you a lefty? I didn't realize.

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    6. I'm a lefty and a pen geek; I've made my own quill pens (not worth it). My favorite gel pens are also Energel, but 0.3 and 0.5. Has anyone mentioned Jet Pens and John Neal as sources? The former has every Japanese pen; the latter, every fine calligraphy product. By the way, if you get ink bleed and can't switch pens for whatever reason, get some gum sandarac from John Neal; you just dust the paper and-- voilĂ !--much less bleed! It comes in a pouch and a container not much bigger than a Carmex jar and lasts forever!

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    7. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 27, 2022 at 12:53 AM

      Yes, I am a lefty! So I would love to talk to you about this. I am more of a black anchor kind of person, that’s just me.

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    8. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 27, 2022 at 12:54 AM

      I am not a hook-handed writer either, I just turn the paper. So fountain pens are not a problem! Cannot wait to try this! Xxx

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    9. Hank Phillippi RyanJuly 27, 2022 at 12:56 AM

      I don’t know where “black anchor” came from. I meant… Black ink! And yes, fountain pens can be a problem for a lefty if you write a certain way, but happily, I don’t!

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  14. What a fun topic to start the day! Thank you. Loved the gorgeous pens. Sadly they would not improve my mysterious ( even to me) penmanship. I think I am an info geek. I just have that magnet brain for obscure and often, useless, facts, and I always have, (though it is changing now with age.) Sometimes it is embarrassing...but it can be fun, too.

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    1. Well, I went down the info geek rabbit hole here, Trish. And I love etymology.

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    2. Triss, that sounds just like me! I recently bought a book called Pub Trivia, telling myself it is a gift for my son, and it still might be because he is the same kind of geek. He's geeky in lots of other ways though and I don't think I am.

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  15. A long, long time ago, I seem to remember that the "Geek" was the circus freak show performer who bit the heads off chickens and performed other appalling acts. In that sense, the geek was a freak of some kind, and it wasn't what you'd call your friend. Over the years, though, I think the circus has fallen away, and "geek" just means "kind of a weirdo." I credit science fiction fandom with the softening of this definition, since they wear their "weirdo" designation proudly. When I use them, I save "nerd" for situations where someone has a deep, sometimes deeply boring-to-outsiders, knowledge of a subject, from the rules of cricket to chaos theory. "Geek" is more of an enthusiastic fan of something not really mainstream. Like fountain pens, for example!

    I've loved fountain pens since I was a kid, buying a cheap Shaeffer with peacock blue ink as part of my back to school haul. I lost touch with them as they were replaced in the office supply stores with cheap ballpoints, and all the felt tip and gel pens that followed. Then, sometime mid-1990s, I spotted an add for a pen store in Dallas and mentioned it to my husband, who also turned out to be a fan of the fountain pen. Pro tip: You know you've crossed the line from fan to geek when you can walk into an upscale specialty store and have two or more clerks look up, smile, and greet you by name.

    So it was my pleasure to corrupt you--ahem!--introduce you to the joys of fountain pens sometime after I got you hooked on Iona journals. I love your Benus, and have two or three of them myself. Along with a couple of Edisons and a few Esterbrooks. Back in the old days, pens were black, blue, sometimes red, and very stodgy. What pen makers are doing these days with acrylic bodies is amazing! So colorful and pretty. I love them.

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    1. Yes, a "geek" was the circus freak show performer who bit the heads off chickens. So interesting how language evolves, isn't it?

      My first fountain pen back in school days was a Waterman, and it leaked like the devil. It did have peacock blue ink though. Gigi and I have been searching for the perfect peacock blue ink ever since!

      And, yes, pens these days are amazing and there is a whole new culture that revolves around pens. I think it's in part a revolt against the digital age, and a lot of these fountain pen enthusiasts are YOUNG.

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    2. Gigi, for a minute there I thought you were doing the lyrics for American Pie!

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    3. Gigi, good to see you here again. (Blogger has rejected me often of late. So I’ve not been here regularly.) Thought of you on 4th of July and went down the rabbit hole of finding your symphony’s Stars and Stripes Forever concert. Thank you for writing about it last year. Elisabeth

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    4. Judi, for a minute there I was. And I hope you found and enjoyed our concert, Elizabeth. Since the pandemic we have begun streaming all our concerts in their entirety. You can find out about them on the Dallas Winds website.

      Debs, I think I've found my match with Diamine Turquoise. But let's save the ink for another day.

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    5. Thanks for the music, Gigi. As I live way to far from Dallas, this is the next best thing to in person. Take good care. Elisabeth

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    6. And yes, I found the 4th of July concert on the Fourth. Elisabeth

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  16. If I thought that a nice pen would improve my penmanship, I would get one. I don’t understand my writing a lot of the time. I do better with fine point pens. A few years ago I bought a really nice pen at a craft show, the kind of pen with the handmade wooden casing. It was a “cast off” because the crafter had made a tiny mistake in the size of the casing (I don’t even know if that’s what it’s called). I paid only five dollars for it, a fraction of the original price. It uses a Cross pen refill. When I was younger I loved Cross pens.For this pen, I use fine point Cross pen refills. But half the time I forget where the pen is! Most of time in the past few years I’ve been using “freebies” picked up at Health Fairs that my city used to have before the pandemic.

    I’ve forced myself to stop collecting things because I just don’t have the space. Right now I’m doing some major decluttering. Despite all I have done so far, nobody would even notice! Like Triss, I’m more of an information geek. I always have been, but now that I’m retired, I have more time for it. The things I seek information about tend to be totally uninteresting to everyone else. Sometimes I run across something that fascinates me in an article, and then I search it to death!

    DebRo

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    1. Deb, I've been looking through some old journals and diaries the last few days, and I realized that using fountain pens actually had improved my writing! I was surprised by how much. And pens and inks don't take up THAT much space, lol.

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  17. Debs, those pens are very pretty! I think I was in seventh grade when I got the pen bug, but what a mighty mess, filling the pen from a bottle of ink. Then I got the cartridges and what I remember more than anything was writing with turquoise ink! That was pretty much the end of that fascination, for reasons unknown. I never considered myself any kind of geek or nerd, but I readily admit to being eccentric, if that is the right word. Maybe I'm an eccentric geek.

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    1. It sounds like we were all seduced by the turquoise ink!

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  18. Those are cool pens. My oldest sister has a thing for pens, so I shall see if she is aware of these.

    I am geekl-y about words. How they make us human (In the beginning was the Word), hmm more than that, how they are the boundary of what we can know and what we cannot. Definition. How they shape our lives. Translation. Where they come from, how they change and how languages differ. Communication. How they work, or don't. The integrity of language. The damage of lies. The vagaries of truth. How they can be crafted into poetry and stories that convey human experience with images and drama. Limitation. The liminal space between words and that which they name or describe or our experience which defines what we can know and what we cannot.

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    1. Do share the Benu link with your sister. I'll bet she will love them. They have such a good story, and of course I love a good story.

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  19. I'm a native plant material geek, keeping certain flowers in my gardens for pollinators. For pens, I buy Pilot pens by the dozen. For the occasional anthology signing, I have a special high end ballpoint pen.

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    1. I'm a native plant geek, too, Margaret. Our natives, in fact, are the only things that are withstanding this terrible heat.

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  20. Astronomy Geek here. I'm going crazy over the latest pictures from the Webb Telescope! I was in Jr. High when NASA first went into space. I always dreamed of being an astronaut. Alas, motion sickness cured that fantasy.

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    1. The pictures from the Webb Telescope are amazing!! I hope they will inspire a whole new generation.

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  21. My friend Jessica Ellicott is a pen geek, and seeing her use those beautiful fountain pens or extremely well made roller balls has certainly piqued my interest. After all, like a lot of writers, some of the most important writing I do is by hand - I do all my initial work on a books characters, plot, theme, etc in a composition book. Plus, now that we're getting out in person for book signings again, it would be nice to pull out something beautiful when a reader has been enthusiastic enough to buy my book and get it signed, as opposed to whatever old Bic pen is rattling around the bottom of my purse.

    I don't collect anything except perhaps china, but I seriously maintain my original geek credentials as a teen who belonged to a Star Trek club, and who saw the first Star Wars seven times. In a theater! Like a lot of words meant as pejorative, "geek" has been reclaimed by its owners and turned into a badge of pride.

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    1. Julia, you're a prime candidate. I can help!! (hee hee) If I could do anything differently in my pen journey, I'd start with a little more expensive pen than the Lamy Safaris I accumulated for a couple years. They are fun, but writing with a well made, good quality pen is a very different experience.

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    2. I'll help! Not that Debs needs help. I just wanna mess with more pens.

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    3. Kathy Boone ReelJuly 26, 2022 at 2:11 PM

      Julia, when Jessica sent me her book, Death in a Blackout, she sent a beautifully written note with it on a beautiful card.

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    4. Kathy, sigh. I aspire to that!

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  22. I think my little obsession with pens and inks is the one thing (besides books) that has kept me sane during the pandemic. Can't travel, can't eat out, can't see friends or family, can't shop--but you can order a pen! Waiting for the package to arrive in the mail is like waiting for Christmas. Such anticipation! Goulet Pens (they are the best!) even put candy and stickers in their shipments.

    My latest pen, the one on the far left in the photo, and on my journal, I ordered directly from Benu in Armenia. That was really fun, seeing the Armenian postage and invoice.

    Does anyone still collect stamps, I wonder?

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  23. What a fabulous collection, Debs! I must look away or I will be consumed with the need to acquire pens and I am on a strict no collecting anything diet. :) I have no idea what comes first the geek or the nerd - I just know that I married one (in regards to guitars). LOL.

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  24. Sorry I am late to the party! Still recovering from my sinus infection. If you look for the word "geek" in the dictionary, you will definitely find my photo. LOL. Yes, I can be a geek about certain things. Although my parents are not into computers, I got into computers and I always learn about new gadgets like smartphones and texting. My Mom is one of the few Hearing people in her generation who communicates by text because of me. She knows that I cannot talk on the phone. So you could say that I dragged my Mom into the 21st century. LOL. And I can be a geek about useless trivia or details. When something interests me, I focus on that and I want to learn everything.

    Speaking of Mont Blanc, when I was at Uni, a friend gave me a Mont Blanc because I got an A on a very difficult project from our class. She tutored me and we worked very hard so that I could stay at University with good grades. When I graduated from Uni, my first cousin gave me a Mont Blanc, which was a nice surprise! And I still have it.

    Love your pen collection, Debs! I used to collect hair bows and I still have them. And of course, I collect books too.

    Diana

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  25. Well, Deb, you know I'm a pen collector too. We both drooled - and bought - at a Bouchercon somewhere, remember? Was it Toronto? But I remind myself these days that I am past the accumulating stage of life and am now in the de-accumulating phase, so when the catalogs arrive, I peek, but resist! (Susan Shea)

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    1. Susan, I was thinking about you and our adventures in the Toronto pen shop! I'm de-accumulating, too, but pens don't take up very much room:-) And I do actually use them every day!

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  26. Sea turtle geek here ever since my first trip to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton 6 years ago. Follow obsessively the turtle conservation, turtle rescue, websites. Watch for the dawn turtle patrols during nesting season. Post photo after photo after photo the the nest markers on my Facebook page. Someday I hope to see one swimming free or crawling up the beach.

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    1. The sea turtle geek is me, Elisabeth.

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    2. That is a very cool thing to be geeky about!

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  27. This was an item for serious discussion back in college 30+ years ago. We decreed geeks were cooler than nerds, so of course we dubbed our civil engineering selves geeks and other engineers (like electrical) as nerds.
    Lisa in Long Beach

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    1. Too funny, Lisa! Of course you were the coolest!

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  28. Pre-COVID, I signed dozens of documents each day at work. One of small joys was doing it with purple (my signature color) gel pens.
    Lisa in LBC

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    1. I sign everything in purple gel. We are ink sisters!

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  29. Fountain pen freak - or geek as you prefer but have no idea how to do the eye dropper fill, but it sounds neater than the sticking the nib in the ink and rotating or levering (pen depending) the ink into the barrel! I like it.

    When we learned to write cursive at our school we were given Estabrook pens and our inkwells were filled. Yep, we had wooden desks with inkwells built in. So cool. It was a big deal when you got your Estabrook - mine was green. I'm pretty sure they don't do that anymore, and I figure those desks ended up in the landfill years ago, but that was the start of my flowing ink obsession. That was fourth grade, and low these many years later - I still use "real" ink.

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    1. Esterbrook is such an historic American brand. They've had quite a resurgence and are making some beautiful pens. I think Gigi has a couple!

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    2. They are iconic - I love the lever fill.

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  30. Not counting books (including ebooks and audiobooks), the only thing I collect is plants for my balcony, and since my balcony isn't very big, and my husband and I and two guests have to fit out there to eat at a table, I would say that I am a limited plant geek. In general, however, I'm a nerd rather than a geek. I used to you could only be a nerd if you were a physics, math, or computer specialist, which I'm not, but now I think the word has something to do with always wanting to know more about fields of knowledge that may seem esoteric to other people and talking about new information in a way that is annoying to everyone but your close friends (and maybe even annoying to them, too). I guess that description isn't very flattering but probably pretty accurate. I have a feeling there are quite a few word nerds on this blog, but I'll leave you to self-identify, friends!

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  31. Hallie and I have discussed our affinity for Star Trek on these pages, and my younger sister is part of a international group of Betsy-Tacey (by Maud Hart Lovelace) fans, but I see no need to derogate ourselves with the title "geek" or "nerd."

    My late friend Susan Wirth sold and traded fountain pens for a living at pen shows throughout North America. When she and I traveled together to China, she was always in the lookout for fountain pens, but I found the best one for her at the Beijing Zoo. When she died, her ashes were put into a giant Quink bottle (from the Parker pen company, I think). I suppose that's sort of geeky.

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