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Pensations — A Quick Guide

Here is a brief guide to the Pensations web site. This page contains blog posts — items which may be of interest to people who use and collect pens.

The online store is accessed by clicking “Shop” in the above menu. The “Cart”, “Checkout”, “My Account” and “Store Policies” buttons provide easy access to store functions and information.

The “Resources” button  in the above menu contains links to pages with useful and interesting information. These include the pen calendar with pen shows and club meetings; pages of links to sites and articles pertaining to pens, handwriting, writing, and entertainment; contact information for pen companies; and lists of interesting books.

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National Card and Letter Writing Month

from-me-to-youApril is National Card and Letter Writing Month. This little-known tribute is sponsored by the US Postal Service in an effort to increase handwritten letters and cards. This year the USPS is kicking off the month with “From Me to You” Limited Edition Forever Stamps, and these are the first stamps in USPS history to be issued with decorative stickers. Part of the ‘celebration’ is the national writing program, “It’s a Delight to Write,” which is designed to encourage letter writing. An information packet on the program is available from Scholastic.com. In addition, some people join the 30 Letters in 30 Days challenge to mark the month. If 30 letters seems a bit too much for you, how about one a week to get started? But whether you send letters often or rarely, get to your local post office and grab some of the “From Me to You” limited edition stamps — they’re perfect for handwritten missives.

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Pelikan Wanderlust Party

PelikanWanderlustSome time back Pelikan sponsored an event to celebrate their Edelstein line of ink. Pelikan sent three bottles of ink on journeys around the world: each bottle went to a winner of a drawing. Each winner wrote a letter with the ink and then sent the bottle to the next person. The bottles have completed their journeys, and Pelikan has received the bottles of ink and the letters. In celebration, Pelikan is hosting an online party on Facebook. The party is at 2:00 PM CET (9 AM EDT) on Thursday, 26 March. Everyone is invited to join the party by clicking on the Facebook page link. There will be prizes, and at the end of the party Pelikan will launch a new project. If one is interested, the letters written by the participants can be viewed on Pelikan’s website.

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Handwriting Contests

fountain-pen-447576_1280Handwriting contests used to be an annual affair in nearly every school district in the US but they declined in popularity many years ago. However, they are not extinct.

The World Handwriting Contest, an annual event sponsored by Kate Gladstone of Handwriting Repair, is still going strong. And there’s time to enter this year as the deadline is 1 July 2015. The contest is open to people of all ages.

The National Handwriting Contest, sponsored by Universal Publishing, is for US students from kindergarten through eighth grade. You have to hurry to enter this one though, as the deadline is 15 April 2015.

Some states, albeit not many, have handwriting contests. The Nebraska Handwriting Contest is in its twenty-fifth year. It is open to Nebraska residents of all ages and entries are accepted between 1 March and 31 March 2015.

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Our Changing Relationship to the World

Gaby-Hinsliff-LGaby Hinsliff posted an interesting piece on the Guardian technology blog. In We’re losing the physical touch from our lives – and it’s changing us she discusses how technology has changed the relationship between humans and physical objects. Handwriting and the taking of notes is the main example she uses but she also points out ways in which technology has changed our relationship with other aspects of the world. The post is worth reading, and her point is worth pondering.

Technology makes our lives easier, and it brings a world of information to our fingertips, but those fingertips are on keyboards, not on the actual physical object. I think that sometimes we forget that the text and images on our screens are a virtual world. It is the real world behind the virtual world which provides meaning. This entanglement with the ephemeral, virtual world has another, more severe consequence: Sometimes we forget that behind the text and photos on our screens are real people with emotions and dreams. The way we receive information on computers and phones tends to depersonalize the senders. We respond to blog entries, Facebook posts, and Twitter feeds in a more extreme and brutal manner than we would in a face-to-face encounter with a person. Let’s remember that there is a real world out there worth enjoying, and that behind the screen names and avatars are real, feeling, people who deserve respect.