Thursday, October 4, 2018

Reverie on Writing

Today I find myself reflecting on the merits of the fountain pen. As I walked to the bus stop on my way to work I was caught in a reverie about all the great literature of the world that was produced with a simple pen.

Consider the following list of documents and books written with a quill or a pen: The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Magna Carta, Poe's The Raven, Moby Dick, Beowulf, Beethoven's Nine Symphonies, Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, Mozart's The Magic Flute, The Essays of Francis Bacon, the travel journals of Sir Richard Burton, the Kama Sutra, the Perfumed Garden, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, the Book of Kells, the Maleus Malificarum and The Golden Bough to name but a few. In later years writers like Hemingway, Hesse, Mann, Camus and Sartre turned out great literature on their Remington or Underwood typewriter. I don't mean to suggest that great literature can only spring from an archaic form of committing words to paper. There are many important works being created on personal computers, though I'm hard pressed to name any at the moment.

The process of writing by hand is organic and meditative and some believe that hand written letters have the power to heal; both sender and recipient. The pen, the ink, the paper, stamp, wax seal join together in a poetic dithyramb of beauty. Add a bit of fragrance on the note to a loved one and the olfactory sense is awakened. As a calligrapher the hand written letter is very important to me; it's not only practical in terms of the lettering that grace certificates but is a thing of beauty in and of itself.

Call Me Ishmael

A few months ago I finally acquired one of my holy grail pens. It's Ryan Krusac Studios homage to Moby-Dick.

The body of the pen is made from naturally shed moose antler, found in the wild. Through the process of scrimshaw the image of Moby- Dick attacking the Pequod is etched into the moose antler. The cap is made from ziricote wood from Belize and the appointments are bronze. The bronze appointments are starting to show some brassing giving the pen a wonderful and personal touch.

The pen has some heft but is quite comfortable to write with for long periods of time. The nib is a 1.4 italic and is a very smooth writer. 

Overall the pen has a vintage look and has quickly become one of my favorite pens.

I forgot to mention that Moby-Dick is my favorite novel that I re-read often.

photos: Ryan Krusac Studios

Cliff Jacobs
Have Pen, Will Write

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

VOTE 2016

There are three occasions where we, as citizens, are called upon to be of service to our country or government:

  1. to serve in a branch of the military
  2. to serve as a juror on a trial
  3. to elect our officials; to vote
This year's presidential election is one of the most important elections that I have ever witnessed. Depending on the outcome of the election, the country may be headed towards two very different futures. I need not define that possible future for you as you can see it plainly yourself.

I'm not encouraging anyone to embrace one philosophy over another. But I'm urging everyone to get out and vote in November; staying home should not be an option.

Remember: bad politicians are elected by good people who don't vote.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Welcome To The Wasteland

Move over Ellen Ripley, Imperator Furiosa has arrived. In the latest edition of Mad Max to hit the silver screen, we are introduced to a new character in the form of Imperator Furiosa. A true bad ass roaming the wasteland of a post apocalyptic universe and she can go toe-to-toe with any male antagonist or protagonist.

In a broader context we have a female character who inhabits the wasteland in search of a life that is better than the one she's currently experiencing. Along the way she seeks to right the wrongs that have been heaped upon her and those that she cares for. And yes, she's also on a mission.

Clint Eastwood's The Man With No Name, Mifune's Yojimbo and Denzel Washington's Eli are loners traversing a barren landscape seeking to accomplish a task or to save a community. The landscape is filled with predatory types eager to thwart the plans of the evil doers. Thus our hero and heroine must follow a predestined fate. In the words of the Mythologist Joseph Campbell, "We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." These lone wolf heroes are thrust into situations that requires them to go beyond their limitations. It is not a life that they would have chosen however, having been thrust into a nightmare existence, they do not run from the evil that they must face. It reminds me of a poster that was popular in my youth. It depicted a caveman carrying a club looking quite ferocious. The text of the poster was a slight variation of Psalm 23: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for I am the meanest son of a bitch in the valley.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dear Friends of Have Pen Will Write. I'm back!. It has been quite some time since I've written for this blog. Part of the problem was that my user name and password was totally FUBAR and it has taken me a while to get back on track.

Much has been happening in the world and my life since I last posted on these pages. I hope to write about many of those issues in the days and weeks to come.

But this blog is about fountain pens, writing, journal writing, ink, stationary and the like. And I do hope to add some fountain pen reviews to my blog.

That's all for now. More to come.

Clifford Jacobs (Jake)
Have Pen, Will Write

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Once again QPTV's studio was filled with pen talk when C.C. Reilly, George Campbell, Garlien Jenkins and Sara Jeen Groensky stopped by to chat. Some of you may recognize George who recently retire from Art Brown Brothers. This was Garlien Jenkins second visit to the studio and, once again, he brought an amazing collection of writing instruments: Krone, Stipula, Michel Perchin most of which were limited editions. Sara Jeen was new to the program but she fell-in like a pro. She also brings alive any room she walks into with her electrifying presence, you gotta' love her! C.C. and I have been friends for years now we first met when she was producing programs through Queens Public Television. We also keep up a regular correspondence by writing cards and letters to each other. Below are a few photos from the studio taping.

C.C. Reilly reads from a letter that she sent to Cliff over seven years ago.

C.C. Reilly and George Campbell (formerly of Art Brown Brothers.)

George Campbell (left) and Garlien Jenkins (right)

 Sarah Jeen Groensky Sales Rep

From left to right: C.C., George, Garlien, Sara & Cliff
Have Pen, Will Write 2013

I must also thank the great crew: Roz Nieves, Luchia Dragosh, Madeline Johnson, Alfred Ying,
Emilia Paradela, Katie Wozniak and Steven Williams.

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Journey With Brother Spiridon Arkouzis

"We cannot tell the precise moment when a friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over." James Boswell

That's how my friendship with Brother Spiridon Arkouzis began. We met at a Masonic function at Grand Lodge and spoke about the Craft. As we were departing, Spiros asked me where did I live and I told him that I live in East Elmhurst. He said that he lived in Astoria and he offered me a ride home. This simple act of kindness was to be repeated many, many times over the last dozen years. I don't own a car and I've never been a licensed driver, and I thank God for that. Had I owned a car I would not have had the opportunity to travel with Spiros as often as I did. You see, he and I also belonged to many of the same Masonic bodies particularly the invitational Orders. His car became our private travelling Lodge and the Holland Tunnel was our rabbit hole that took us to the other side where we discovered marvelous things.

We not only spoke about Freemasonry but we discussed other topics like movies, music and the fairer sex. Once, while driving listening to the radio, a song was played, it was Welcome to the Machine by Pink Floyd. Spiros said "I love this song" I asked, "You're into Pink Floyd?" He said yes. Now, if you know the song it starts with the sound of some enormous industrial machine. Spiro asked me did I recognize the sound, I told him no. He proceeded to explain how it was the sound of a particular engine found on certain ships. Needless to say I was quite impressed with his knowledge of ship engines as well as Pink Floyd. We also spoke about films and I remembered our conversation about Stanley Kubrick whose films he enjoyed as much as I did. And, like Kubrick, Spiridon was a very good chess player. He was a loyal, faithful Brother with a great intellect and uncompromising integrity.

One of the most wonderful sounds that I treasure is Spiros' laugh. Yes, Spiro was tough and passionate in conversation but he also had a wonderful sense of humor. Spiro was a Gemini I'm an Aries;
he was air and I'm fire: a great combination. But we were also both very earthy and that made for a very strong friendship and lots of laughs.

Brother Spiridon Arkouzis was called from labor Sunday morning, December 16, 2012. I cried deeply when I received word of his passing. I pray that the Great Architect of the Universe will watch over him, protect him and guide him as he travels to that "undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns." Amen, So Mote It Be.

Photo Courtesy of Brother Jason Sheridan

Clifford Jacobs
Have Pen, Will Write
December 17, A.L.6012