My Saturday at the Atlanta Pen Show was so great I feel that it deserves it's own title. I hereby dub it "The Experience", as in my experience was so awesome I will never forget it.
My day started out early. 5am alarm, out the door at 6am from Macon, GA to Sandy Springs, where I met my friend Aaron Mahnke from Wet Frog Studios and the Home Work podcast. We try to catch up in person at least once a year and I am glad we were able to make it happen again. I always learn a lot talking with him, but the highlight of our meal was when a group of guys rolled up in a Lamborghini, a Lotus, and two Aston Martins. The fifth guy rocked a Corvette - he must have been the personal assistant.
After my fill of blueberry granola pancakes I drove the 10 minutes over to the hotel where the pen show was located. I was a little early so I checked my Twitter feed and it was go time:
Pierce (@mysticalthing) @dowdyism just got my badge and waiting for the show to start! #atlpenshow
I headed inside around 9:30, paid my $8 entry fee, got my name badge, and headed over to talk to Pierce until the doors opened at 10. While we were chatting, long-time internet friend Grey Williams joined us, and I finally got to meet Heath Cates from Pen Paper Ink Letter in person. We were chatting about Field Notes and Heath's drive up from Auburn when the doors opened and we got our pen show on!
Mike Masuyama was in his usual spot - immediately to the left when you walk in the first door. I double-checked my name on his nib work list (#2!) and headed over to see Brian and Lisa Anderson to get my #LisaHug.
Meeting with the Anderson's was one of the highlights of my 2013 show and they were great again this year. We chatted for a while, I dropped off some Nock Co. goods and they gifted me a Field Notes America the Beautiful edition after listening to Episode 101 on their long drive down from Wisconsin. Hopefully Myke and I gave them a little entertainment!
Right when I left the Anderson's table I turned around to be greeted by the one and only Jeff Abbot, aka my savior. I'm not sure where this blog would be right now without his weekly post so I was excited he made the drive over from Alabama. He and I hung out for most of the day during the show as we browsed around.
Speaking of Alabama, John, aka Bamapen called me up to handoff two new cigar box storage cases I had on order. They turned out great as usual, and I guess you could say that was my first purchase of the day.
My second purchase came from Lisa Vanness from Vanness Pens. I had put two bottles of Akkerman Inks old hold before the show via Twitter and there they were behind the table with my name on it. Lisa and Wendi were super nice and liked the Nock Co. products I dropped of to them as well. I can't wait to see them again in the future.
By this time it is almost noon and I haven't looked a pen yet. I did get my Lamy 2000 nib tweaked again by Mike Masuyama, where my favorite picture of the show was taken by Heath:
Business was handled, now it was time to shop! I had my list committed to memory, which was easy because it was fairly short. I picked up two secret-for-now Franklin-Christoph pens and two nibs from the F-C table. Hopefully Myke will be happy with what I got him, but it is a secret until it arrives in London.
My largest single pen purchase of the day was a Visconti Opera Typhoon, a pen I have fawned over since its release. I actually had the Visconti Wall Street on my mind as my main purchase of the day but got a deal on the Typhoon I couldn't pass up. There is always next year for the Wall Street.
I also picked up a Waterman 52 with a flexy nib, another item from the shopping list. I'm in the process of giving it a good cleaning so I haven't fully tested it out yet. It looks great though.
The full loot list:
-- Visconti Typhoon Opera, F nib
-- (2) Secret F-C pens
-- Waterman 52, flex nib
-- (2) F-C nibs
-- (2) Bottles of Akkerman ink
-- (2) Cigar box pen cases
-- Mike Masuyama nib grind on Lamy 2000
-- Pendelton Brown nib grind on Pilot Custom Heritage 912 stub
-- Bottle of Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki
-- Bottle of Organics Studio Blue Merle
-- (2) Sailor convertors
-- (2) 12000 grit nib smoothing sandpapers
It was an amazing show for "stuff" but nothing I bought can compare with the experience I had and the people I met. I had several people introduce themselves to me throughout the day saying they read the blog and listen to the podcast. That was humbling, and cool. I am grateful for everyone who reached out and glad you came!
The pen show ended at 5pm, but the fun continued well after the doors closed. I set up an informal meet-up in the hotel bar where we showed off our purchases, nib work, and traded pen and life stories. Mark Bacas, one of the cogs in the wheel at the pen show and a friend of mine, showed up for a drink, along with the aforementioned Grey, Heath, Jeff, and Brian and Lisa Anderson. We were also joined by @heymatthew and my Nock Co. partner Jeff and his wife Rachel. What had tentatively been scheduled to end at 7pm went on until 8:30 when I HAD to get on the road. You can see more pictures of the meet-up on the Atlanta Pen Show Facebook page.
I learned more at this pen show than the last two combined. My most important takeaway is that friends and friendship are more important than any pen I own, or will ever own. Pens are the sideshow at an event like this. The people are the real reason to be there and even if I didn't have a dollar to spend it would have been an amazingly successful day.
What an experience.