Three Questions With Thomas Hall

King of the Enablers. That is all you need to know about Thomas. Well, you also need to know he is one of the nicest and most generous people you could ever hope to meet. He has taught me more about fountain pens than I could have ever hoped to learn on my own. My thanks to Thomas for answering Three Questions.

1. What role do analog tools such as pens, pencils, and paper play in your day to day life?

There was a point in time when I tried to go completely digital with all of my tools. But now I have returned to a good balance between analog and digital. For both work and personal use, I take notes, draw initial versions of diagrams, and do all of my brainstorming and planning using pens and paper. I transfer things into digital format only when it makes sense to. I find that this helps me focus more, and I get a lot of satisfaction and joy from using them. Even something mundane like taking notes feels more creative when I'm using a direct system like pen and paper.

On a creative front, I often outline and write drafts of my blog posts using pen and paper as well. I also have aspirations of getting back into drawing and watercolor again. Maybe even calligraphy (both western and Chinese brush).

But don't try to take away my mobile devices away from me, though. Both analog and digital tools coexist in my life.

2. What are your favorite products you are currently using?

On the stationery front, I've pretty much settled into a good groove. For quick notes, I keep Nock Co. DotDash Note Cards (Dusty Blue) and a TWSBI Diamond 540/580 filled with Pilot Blue Black ink in a Nock Co. Fodderstack.

Other pens are carried in either a Nock Co. Lookout or one of the many EXB Pen Wraps I own. Usually, I'm carrying an Edison Double-Ended Pearl, Newton Shinobi, and one of my many Pilot or Danitrio pens. Unless the pen has a Japanese nib, most of my pens are custom ground to 0.2mm (Japanese EF) or 0.4mm Cursive Italic by Michael Masuyama or Shawn Newton.

If I could only choose one ink, it would be Pilot Blue Black. Favorite ink brands include Pilot, Sailor, Diamine, and R&K. I use the Levenger Circa system for my notes, as I appreciate the flexibility of the system to reorder pages, remove pages for writing, and even use different size paper in the same notebook. I create my own templates using HP 32 lb. Premium Laser paper or use the Rhodia refills they have. All my letters are written on Rhodia DotPad paper, and stamped with my chop.

On the technology side, I'm usually carrying an iPhone, iPad, and an Android phone. My MacBook Air comes along when needed. I'm looking forward to receiving my TextBlade to see if I can primarily use my iPad on the go.

All of this is carried in one of my Tom Bihn bags. I carry a (now discontinued) Buzz bag to work. If I'm on the go, I'm carrying a Small Cafe Bag or Ristretto for iPad. Using Small Organizer Pouches, I can swap contents between bags quickly without having to individually remove items.

3. What pen are you the most proud you enabled me to purchase?

This "enabler" title should be yours alone. My original goal was to try help educate people by sharing knowledge and sometimes even letting people borrow pens so they can make informed decisions before purchasing. Somehow, that clearly backfired with you, as it seems you've bought the majority of pens you borrowed! :)

You would think I would say I'm most proud of the Pilot Custom Heritage 912 PO. Or any of the Edisons. Or one of the many pens from the big three Japanese pen companies. Or Pelikan. But there is one specific pen I'm most happy that you purchased. Even though it's only been just over 2 years since your first Fountain Pen Education post, I honestly think I'm most proud of you for purchasing your first Nakaya pen.

Is this because I think you choose an excellent color in the Ao Tamenuri? Or because it's an expensive pen? Or it's Japanese, which are arguably my favorite? None of the above. It's because you broke through a mental barrier of worrying about damaging an expensive pen. Now you just use them. This is what we all should do with our pens. They're meant to be used and loved, not just collected.

Then again, there will always be that next pen. The one you don't even know about yet that I will convince you to purchase. So the Nakaya is my answer. For now...

Posted on January 24, 2015 and filed under Three Questions.