Three Questions With Mary Collis

In my next life I want to come back writing cursive, and I want my handwritng to look like Mary Collis's. She writes the wonderful From The Pen Cup blog, and may be the nicest person on the planet. My thanks to Mary for answering Three Questions.

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

Ever since I read David Allen's Getting Things Done in 2007, I've been a fanatic about capturing tasks, appointments, and all of the random stuff that comes at me during a day. I have one of those jobs that involves a lot of input from a lot of people, but it's not just practical (or fun) to walk around capturing notes on my phone all day. Though I love my phone (it's the first thing I check in the morning, and the last thing I check at night), pen and paper feel the most natural to me. A pen geek from WAY back, I love seeing ink flow onto paper, filling up notebooks, and coloring in my little hand drawn check boxes. I can't sustain a digital calendar to save my life, though I've tried countless times. I'd rather jot down an appointment in my homemade Field Notes "planner." For some reason, a task or appointment doesn't seem real until I've written it in own hand. Writing it down means it's captured and my brain can take a rest. Using pens and paper feels a little like playing, and who couldn't use some fun in their jam-packed work day and personal life.

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

Some of my analog tools have "stuck" for years—like a Field Notes notebook in a Doane Paper Horween leather notebook cover. I have one for work and one for home. It's a size and format that works perfectly for me. I keep my daily task lists in these notebooks, checking off items throughout the day. New tasks are captured in a Levenger Circa Junior size notebook outfitted with Levenger's Vivacious cross-dot Circa paper...glorious stuff. (Items from this notebook are added to master Action, Waiting, and Someday/Maybe lists in Evernote). My calendar, as I said, is handmade using a Field Notes notebook, kept in a Davis Leatherworks cover. For grocery shopping and on-the-fly list making, I use my Nock Co. Fodderstack with Nock Co. DotDash or Frictionless capture cards, and my Nock Co./Karas Kustoms Render K. I currently have two journals going- a Five-Year Reflection Book (short form) as well as a Nanami Paper Seven Seas Writer Journal (thanks to Patrick Rhone for the recommendation). The Seven Seas journal is filled with Tomoe River paper so it's an absolute dream to write in. Though I have a horrible track record for keeping journals going, I feel sure that I'll eventually fill this one up. I also write almost all of my letters on Tomoe River paper. Once you try that, nothing else measures up. I also make my own envelopes for letters using the Kuretake Handmade Envelope Template available from JetPens.

As for pens, well, ask me today and get one answer, ask me tomorrow and get another. For fountain pens, I'm currently enamored with the Waterman Phileas that I recently wrote about on my blog. Filled with Sailor Yama-Dori or Montblanc Irish Green, letter writing and journaling is pure joy. My Wahl-Eversharp Skyline Technik is always filled with Wahl-Eversharp Everberry. I'm still crazy about that nib. I carry WAY too many pens to work in my Nock Co. cases, but lately I'm using the Ti2 Design Gonzodized Techliner (Shorty) the most. The one-of-a-kind Black Fade to Silver Retro 51 that I recently won comes in a close second. But really, I have pen A.D.D., and can wind up with a herd of pens strewn all over my desk by the end of the day, even though I start out pledging to keep things simple and neat.

  No problem detected.

No problem detected.

Pencil-wise, I'm really enjoying the Write Notepads & Co. Jumbo pencils, now that I have the Classroom Friendly Large-Hole sharpener to sharpen them. These are BEEFY pencils that lay down a rich smooth line. Really great.

I carry my notebooks and pens to and from work in a Levenger Metro Messenger bag, in sage green. This is fairly new for me and has been working out great.

I display my pens in Mike Dudek's The Divide and The Block, and a couple of Levenger display cases—The Point of View Pen Case and the True Writer case (no longer available, apparently).

Oh, man- I could go on and on listing favorites!

3. What post are you the most proud of on your blog?

Can I name two? Strangely enough, neither is about pens. I had a blast writing about leaving my beloved Akkerman ink behind after the DC Pen Show. It was an especially fun post to write because of the rollercoaster of emotions, and because there was a happy ending. Had it ended badly, I probably would've kept it to myself. I'm also proud of my post about my desire to get healthier via the Whole Life Challenge. This post seemed to hit a nerve with a lot of people because my readership shot up the day it was posted. It felt good to share my story in the hopes that it might help someone else, much like Brian Goulet's story helped me. I'm still down 25 pounds, thanks to the new habits I picked up during the Whole Life Challenge.

Posted on March 21, 2015 and filed under Three Questions.