Guest Post: It isn’t over till the fat lady sings – Steph

The Levenger L-tech 3.0 came in a silver box. Something cheap made well enough to be customised, but just a box. appearances do not matter to me here, it has been tossed carelessly as I did not deem it worthy of a photo. How it is presented looks costly, but gaudy and too much of a resemblance to a metal brief case filled with cash like on a low budget D-list movie. It is jarringly out of place, I’m no triad boss, it is not a discreet box.

catbox

What did you say? Let’s discuss quantum physics, no one will talk to me about it. 

Diagram by me, like I used MS Paint, I made this with pro Photoshop skillz. Mad SKILLZ bro. Lie. I can’t Photoshop. Next. Photo sources as listed.

Opening it, I nodded my first approval– thorough enough, and not too expensive for what I paid, a mostly brass alloy stick nestled in dense foam with not just one, but two stylus tips. One meshy and the other silicon-y Well, for a fountain pen, it wasn’t too expensive, retailing at the Levenger’s site for US$99.

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A picture of Lori and Steve Leveen is shown fairly nondescript. Image from levenger.com

Levenger also sells other pens, associated paraphernalia from paper to, quite oddly, wallets and wristwatches. Are they going to be a department store? At the point of my first draft, I could not uncover more about the brand, quickly searching for it did not bring much up. What is a ‘Levenger’? It was founded by a pair from the United States of America in 1987, as written on the website. Much is shrouded and their direction seemed unclear to me, but also on display, the founders have revealed their faces, never mind that it kind of reminds me personally of a stock image.

 

On further pressing, portraits of each one appear in other sections of the site and the ideal for them is quality. This means to me it must be able to be withstand the test of time and use, still maintain durability and not look like a piece of junk when I die. Finally it must be good enough to be then handed down to someone else, a son or daughter, an idolised person or a friend to gift as a prized possession. Quality is one of those things. Carry on. The address points to the state of Florida. Nothing special. There are even separate pages for mission, vision and purpose. There is a video. A blog. Oh goodness. Too much now. I shut the tab and went with their line: they want to appeal to the writer, thinker, reader. Specifically. I do not feel inclusive although I write, think and read, each one extensively. It should be for all! Throw pens at people, everyone! I quote the legendary Sir David Attenborough, roughly, as I was only in the audience and this I can only quote by memory: Let the females, let women have equal opportunities to be educated. That is why I believe a pen should be given to everyone.

Poke poke. It looks sharp enough. Photograph from Massdrop.com

 

The stainless steel nib is claimed to be handcrafted in Germany. Steel rusts. What about the rest of it? The brass alloy body is powder-coated, and in the colour ‘Stealth’, matt on the faceted barrel, a knurled grip (this is not comfortable, but I tolerated it)– and the nib was lacquered black. That would be the end of the it, friction will rub the lacquer off. This is not heirloom stuff, yet it was imposing as it stood. Tall, dark and handsome. It was constructed with thought and carried with it a rather heavy weight. Cap on, cap off, it balanced well. In my small hand, in my husband’s much larger hand, this pen had the potential, still, if modified.

Mob boss pen, ey! Cue The Godfather theme. Anybody? Sonny? Sonny! Picture from Massdrop.

 

Along with the pen and stylus tips sat a piston-filler converter. Thoughtful. Someone wanted to make this thing a weapon to behold and a weapon it would make if you knew where to stab someone, pointy sticks go to things like the eyes! Ow. Masculine in stereotype and by shape, a woman pulling this pen out her purse would intimidate simply by looks. I chucked the cartridge aside and excitedly pulled out a vial of ink, one of my first ones so generously shared with me by Maybelline (shout out to you!); Rohrer and Klingner. In Verdure/Verdura, whichever language you want to use, I call it Verdure (it is a word in English and first meaning is for lush green vegetation), and from Latin, Old French and Old Italian.. Argh! I was excited, I spoke in every language I knew, muttering to myself as I dug around my treasures, my husband knew me and just left me to my experiments, left me to be this Gollum-like state I get into, a crazy scientist.

OUR PRECIOUSSSS!!11 We must have! Photo: Screen capture of Gollum in The Lord of The Rings via Ripleys.com

 

To me, a rich green in shade and tone, to describe it as emerald would make sense to most who do not work with colour or gems. Personally, I do work with colour, but I don’t think in names and words when I do, now that I try to describe it, languages escape me. Many have written about this ink and I will continue.

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I cannot write. Sorry.

Photograph by myself and my phone. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Lies. I want a class action lawsuit against apple for cruelty to stupid human for not treating other human properly. I didn’t say Apple. I said apple. Dangnabbit apples. Once upon a time, I bought a big fuji apple from Japan, not China, it was massive and tested like apple, duh, just eleven trillion bajillion times sweeter with good crunch and texture, not sweet like sugar explosions, it was sweet, apt. The fragrance and flavour of apple was prominent, the sweetness only played back up, even the skin complemented the flesh, as if it was the soundproof walls keeping every flavour’s note together until you finish chewing and swallow it with satisfaction. Down the esophagus! Bucket list for eating the best apple, done. I must keep to point. Erghghgh.

For the L-Tech 3.0, I wrote with it for a full page, enjoying slip it had over Tomoe River paper; Yes… the wind is in my hair, the speed and finesse I have experienced personally with more German engineering in the form of….. mmm cars (yes, I am a speed demon, I no longer drive though, everyone is safe!) and with gusto, I wrote with this instrument akin to a muscular, chiseled but lean male who flexed and puffed his chest. Menacing, but masked. This masculine appearance flopped when put to the test. When the time came for him to drop the disguise, the beveled body that sailed smoothly by with ticks automatically awarded for aesthetics gave way. My palm was green, and from somewhere this piece of metal is broken. I checked, consulted, over and over. My eyesight is still fairly good despite my huge bout of illness; there was a hairline crack at the base of the nib, cutting close near the feed. Sighing, I removed the converter to save the ink, and every bit of this construction I cleaned gently, rinsed with water, soaked and dried on cloth that was now worth more than the useless metal. Still, I treated it with respect like it had passed away.

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I wrote like I had my hands taken away and suddenly given back, and the Prophet of Stephaniefairylandom called upon her to write like the wind, The message is… Go forth and have fun!!! Just ignore the fact that your hand is now totally green, ja, ja! Stupid thing. Photograph by myself and my phone.

Aside, put it away, I don’t want to see it– I had told my husband. It would be as if I had never touched it to the naked eye, it would pass. Without that crack, if it had quality control, it would have been the pen I carry with me to write and sign my name with. This minute detail is of great importance: for now I sit in a wheelchair, and had to relearn how to write, with a rollerball i struggle, a ballpoint, chicken scratch. A fountain pen? I have to write letters of proxy today by hand because sometimes I just cannot be outside, and on ink with paper, I identified myself and signed my name. Walk? On extremely fantastic days, I walk. My signature, in frustration, was just squiggles for a time. I have moved on from the pen now, the potential is marred like bloodstains on silk, white and pearlescent of quality, hems embroidered by hand and tailored to fit a beloved Empress… A scar upon the face that should launch a thousand ships, Helen of Troy. A dud. Bad luck? I wanted to throw it into the recycling bin, but I held on for no reason, and it is now lost in the abyss of my perimeters.

It can look nothing like a ninja too, a hardcore pen it would make, for everyone, unless it is broken like mine. Picture from Levenger.com

 

It was a sore defeat.

I have moved on from that Levenger pen, as mentioned, and I write this day with thanks to other fountain pens that don’t leak and colour my hands black and blue (done before). Purple on my face that my doctor thought was a bruise? Oh, dear no, I have smeared something on my face. This day, I write with ink, coax colour across materials, away from materials, and paint with both synthetic and natural fibre brushes. Squirrel, mink, pony, horse, then, even for my hair, boar bristles as I have damaged growth and pull at it frequently. Kuretake and Hakuhodo, I laud for well made tools. I am only an amateur with fountain pens, but in a land before time, I hold a brush the other way around and transform faces with Hakuhodo brushes, I gave my clients their last dusting of powder, or if needed, the density of its fibres picked up pigment and deposited it back. A living canvas. In my free time, I would make cards for no reason, happy birthday! to no one. Kuretake gave me markers, glues for the craft-gene-lacking me, and a waterbrush, along with watercolours that I want to put on display instead of go nuts with it. The brand also created brush pens which I believe will be much suitable for Chinese calligraphy. An art I dabbled with, much younger, but got tired of due to rubbish equipment. Ink came from a bottle, not by dilution of a slab of…. I am wandering off again! Stop!

I am always trying something new, always a student of something, watching and learning. It has been and is difficult to go down this path of helplessness, what is this path and where does it go? How did I end up here? I am a useless bag of human waste and near-insanity. In distress, lines have started to drag on my features. My current pen of finesse is a red Visconti Saturno, inked red, but I reach for a Pelikan, Bring me the green one, I would ask my husband. It is also inked a bright red, more fiery, with a Pelikan Souveran M1000, I wrote in bright blood. It is like enjoyment of butter. I ate butter for breakfast for awhile. It became expensive, and young men watched me butter my toast in horror. My ribs were visible but they gawked. What’s your problem? I will eat what I want to eat. Look at me for one more second and I will gouge your eyes out. With a fountain pen. Ohhhhhhh. Ok, my own stomach churned and said no. I would frequently use my TWSBI, for it had the sweetest shade of pink. I had asked the lady behind the counter, can I sign in pink? And the pen signed for me, my signature to pay for the doctor who saved me, same as when I signed my life over to the doctors. It was me. I signed in pink, because! I have many pens inked in other colours, but, tough, I’m writing about red today.

With a cheaper Pilot pen, I wrote on blush pink G. Lalo, they make letter paper I despise. I do own Rhodia notebooks and Clairefontaine paper. Problem? I needed a heavy weight paper to push someone down. Do you understand? The simpleton didn’t. It was inked a dark red, giving full permission to my husband and signing my name off so that he could by proxy bring me a simple, stupid student card. He was questioned for my parents’ names. I am always cautious to give their names away but in his email, I had armed him with proof of our marriage, which listed my parents’ names, silly silly, he forgot about it. Still, it was heinous, it sits clear now, I am discriminated against, and only now, my husband noticed. The university had no knowledge of my parents’ names and had no right. Of a different race, with me not taking his last name, he was questioned. I had pen and paper, but my body is weak and only on the great days, I walk. My husband is loving, confused, frustrated, understanding, everything, he is worn thin. I weave a very complex pattern, and I am wearing thin too, but I await other items with glee. Items I bought, just for me to sample. Will I post again? Don’t know. Ask Maybelline. she might have kicked me out the ‘house’, chased me around with a broom. I’ll be laughing like I had just pulled her braid, but only gently because I cannot harm a sister, and when I return, I will bring her a treasure and ask for her wisdom, is this one a precious? With all my enthusiasm I would drag an answer from her, “Our precious?”.

I may never return to the country we once both lived in, but through the net I can still talk to her, and with technology seek her out.

x Steph

Disclaimer: No one bought the Levenger pen for me. I bought it with my money, no pens mentioned were given to me. The ink was a gift from the skilled to the new, like markers given to a child, no monetary exchanges were made. I speak only for me. No one paid me for the post either. I wrote it because I wanted to and because I share something above pen and ink with my dear friend Maybelline and with ones who share my sparks. Hello and goodbye!

7 Responses

  1. mypenneedsink 14 March 2016 / 5:21 AM

    Steph – if my comment came across as judgemental to you personally I apologize as that was not my intent. Your style of writing is just not for me. That does not make your style wrong or bad. I’m a fountain pen blogger myself but that in no way makes me a writer or journalist with any credentials to judge another person’s prose or style, I think I even failed english in school. By the looks of my blog statistics not a lot of people care for my style either but I’m I’m not going to stop writing AND I’m not going to quit my day job. I wish you the best with your replacement Levenger and if you choose to keep writing I wish you all the success in finding your audience, I’m sure it’s out there.

  2. Steph - original guest poster 9 March 2016 / 10:36 PM

    Hello, I am the author for this post and this one, one only on this blog. This pen arrived very quickly and I jumped with glee and joy. Ok, actually I cannot jump like the quick brown fox because my legs are useless to me then, but I clapped and grinned. Hurry, hurry, I wanted to tear the box open but I had no strength at the time of receiving it. I waited for someone to help me. A very gentle person, I have been described, I can tend to wounds very carefully and soothe someone. For other things, I have had to fight to the death for. I have been told I have a brilliant smile, and I smile daily! I also have the infamous Resting Bitch Face. I can do introduction, linking point to point, give pros and cons, and then a conclusion, absolutely. WIth this Levenger, I wrote like a frenzied one, and naturally, my head produced things that will jump one topic to another.

    I accept all critique, but the criticism has to tell me exactly where to change, pointing randomly doesn’t give me any direction to look.. An angle, sure! Another word, okay! Change and replace them, re-write it all, it can all be done. Just plain bad? If someone sang badly, then record one yourself before mouthing others off. I do not fear criticism, please continue to precisely tell me where I have done wrong. No one wants things to go off the tracks, it is not my way or the highway, best if it goes straight to the point but how boring is that? A straight line, but reality has other forces on this straight line, push and pull, gravity, pressure, electricity? Blow at it, smear it. Erase it.

    I am a hobbyist of fountain pens and thank you all for commenting. I wrote this piece and left anyone who has read it in a whirl. That was what I aimed for, that is me, I am very complicated and most often not by choice. I have cut enormous paragraphs out of it this post. What is left is my message of how powerful words can be. Twist it, here and there, just words. I mentioned disability, it involves my ability to think and how I present something, my cognition is heavily affected and after cutting out a lot, this was what I sent to Maybelline, I wouldn’t re-read it because I am my biggest enemy and this post won’t stand if I just deleted everything.

    The post is as titled as so because Levenger has said they will replace the pen, free of charge.

  3. Kevin 9 March 2016 / 8:38 AM

    I finished the article but I struggled. Very angry person. Just return the pen for another one for goodness sake – and SMILE

  4. mypenneedsink 9 March 2016 / 1:46 AM

    I’m a Levenger fan so I stayed with this post but after finishing it I have no idea what I read. Was she reviewing a Levenger pen that failed on her? I can agree with her that Levenger tries very hard to pull you into some sort of family when in fact they are really just an online retailer trying to make a buck. I’ve been buying from them off and on for years so they are doing something right.

    • Maybelline T. 9 March 2016 / 4:01 AM

      Hello! Thanks for reading. Yep you understood well – she had expected good quality as claimed by Levenger but the pen she received had issues with cracks and leaks.

  5. Diarek 8 March 2016 / 10:04 AM

    That was…interesting read.. I suppose? At first, I though the writer is male, how could I not? The style was rough, like “Get out of my yard”- rough, and all over the place too, like an angry old grump ranting between the best apple they ever eat and how they signed everything in red and pink (interesting, pink ink?).
    And that hurts the review.
    I not saying this style is bad, but its best to done in moderation, here, it comes off as excessively done and leaves some paragraph almost a jumbled mess to read.
    Another thing I would appreciate in review is actual image of the item, even if its the one million and one pic of a Pilot Varsity, its still an unique image that you can only find in this certain review and not from a Google search.

    • Maybelline T. 8 March 2016 / 11:41 PM

      Thanks for your feedback, as always. Steph is new to this guest posting thing and yep, that is her style.

I would love to hear your thoughts!