Pendomness Penful Adventures in Randomness

It May Have Been Good, But Shouldn't It Have Been Great?

Do The Best You Can Until You Know Better

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know, do better. - Maya Angelou

This year’s DC Fountain Pen Supershow was at times both an exercise in frustration and a perfect example of all the magic that this community can bring to the world.

Show-and-tell-and-learn at the bar mixed with anxiousness about table assignments in the morning.

“Morning Traffic” waiting to enter the show that was worse than anything DC, NYC, LA, or Manila can offer, while in the company of friends that valiantly try to stop you from gradually losing your mind, by offering a hug or a shoulder, or dazzling with impromptu calligraphy practice in the hallway.

Astonishingly tight aisles in the main ballroom, the neverending hallway, and the hastily added auxiliary room, offset by the absolute wonderfulness of the Pay-It-Forward table.

At the end of the show, it seemed that the prevailing sentiment was: “Well, Friday was a mess, but I made my table money back and then some, I had a pretty good show. Let’s give them another chance and see how next year goes.”

I’ll put it plainly: you may have had a good show, but nobody had a great one, and why should any of us settle for less?

How many more pens could you have sold without the wasted hours of Friday morning? How many more smiles would we have seen?

How many more people could you have talked to and learned from, if only the aisles were slightly wider?

How many more sad, broken pens could have been turned into happy little ink gushers?

How many more boring, unpleasant, or just plain uncooperative nibs could have been granted that little touch of magic and turned into ones that will never fail to put a smile on their human’s face?

How many more newcomers, inexperienced users, collecters, collusers (portmanteau cringe, I know), or children could have visited the Pay-It-Forward table to pick out a new pen of their very own or receive a very special “Starter Kit for Little Ones?”

The Magic of Children

How many more children would have gotten this spark in their eyes?

As good as you feel you did at the end of the weekend, there are countless ways it could have been better for so, so many. It’s time to stop letting things slide and time to start pushing things forward.

Let’s join Atlanta, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, announcing dates well in advance and allowing vendors and attendees both to register online in advance (how many no longer even know what a check is?).

Let’s join Chicago and San Francisco in offering fresh and interesting workshops. Writing isn’t the only way to use a pen and repairwork is no longer the only skill that can be useful. Playing with ink, making an artful mess, combining pens with watercolor and other media, bookbinding, stamp carving… they all have their place and inject a revitalizing bolt of energy into our community.

A well-organized, well-planned event can do wonders to improve people’s moods and increase their willingness to share. It can keep people engaged and increase the chance of them bringing others into the fold. And yes, it can even help open their wallets.

So while you might have had a good time at the show, you might have even done well financially, it’s time for the Supershow to change. It is time for it to become even better.