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Does This Pen Write?: The Musical


Okay, so that’s not entirely accurate, but isn’t it a fun title? I have been getting a surge of emails of late and though I should be more adept at prompt responding, it’s still an area where I struggle. I never know how to properly respond to the thoughtful things you cats email to me, though many times they eventually find their way into posts. However, I figured, we’re all getting cozy and it’s been more than a year since I started this blog and I thought this would be as good a time as any to answer some questions.

How did the blog start?

I say it started because of my Post-It Flag Pen love and while that’s a part of it, I guess it’s not the story in its entirety. One late, late night – in throes of another bout with insomnia – I got really bummed. Some of that was lack of sleep and other parts had to do with how unsatisfying I was finding blogging to be. The kind of blogger I wanted to be wasn’t turning out to be the blogger I was. I am a really silly, fun, smart and 80% not especially earnest, yet I felt like flagship blog – Snarky’s Machine wasn’t always adept at emphasizing that. To be fair I was writing about feminism and -ism fail and those topics – even in my capable hands – generally don’t make for rip roaring up. I am not a zealot about my beliefs (except when it comes to TV cop shows) and often times I sure did sound like one. Yes, I’m hella snarky and I don’t take a lot of guff. But even at my crispiest, I’m still a pretty cool person. I am fierce advocate for the underdog and don’t mind being Jackie Brown when folks are blowing up my spot or the spot of someone I care about.

All of which has nothing to do with the origins of this damn blog. Anyhoo, I sat at my desk with some kind of cop show streaming in the background and asked myself, “Angelina (that’s my name, though it wasn’t ever really a secret), what subject would make you happy right this second?” And bang, I thought, of course, pens, paper and office supplies. It didn’t even occur to me that there was anyone else who actually cared about them the way I do, but could also articulate their passion in an engaging way. Google took care of that assumption and I found many of the blogs I count of favorites. I read them and loved them and realized that kind of blogging – absent of any sort of intentional agenda or political bent – was what I wanted to do. I wanted to write about fucking pens and sketchbooks and how I like to change up my home decor every five minutes.

How do you create your reviews?

Lots of times when I get a version of this question it’s a result of someone finding one of my reviews either really funny or touching, eliciting emotions they didn’t expect to feel about Pens. “Create” is probably too kind of word for how the magic happens around here. Basically, there is always a faint monologue about office supplies, pop culture, decor and Tron running in the background and if I’m lucky I happen to be near a computer or sketchbook to record it.

Sometimes it happens when I’m browsing pens in a store and I start to imagine what my review would be like. That tends to have a surprising level of influence on which products I buy, accept as gifts and review. I don’t possess a preternatural knowledge of office supply products; I’m a writer so I just happen to use them more than most people. Using them to the degree to which I do tends to cultivate a specific relationships to the products. Hopefully, nobody reads this blog in order to really get a handle on the products from an expert’s perspective. Because, um, well, that’s not going to happen here. That’s what I read all the blogs I links for. Their collective expertise easily surpasses mine, which is why I get so blushy whenever one of them gives me a shout out. That said, what I do offer, is a fun entry to engagement. And perhaps a few lulz along the way.

How do you generate so much content?

Clearly, this is a reference to other blogs I write and not specifically related to DTPW?, which doesn’t have 10th the content of my other blogs. But there is no real secret, except I schedule certain days where I settle in for long stretches of content writing. Each of the blogs I run tends to have enough content (now DTPW? too) to operate for a couple of weeks if I should get busy with paying bills, working or getting my freelance hustle on.

I don’t know how other people do it, but for me it’s easier to sit down with my sketchbooks, index cards and the occasional cocktail napkin and get to blogging. My partner says I’m an idea machine. I might not always be able to execute those ideas successfully, but I got ideas for days. Also, I type about 110wpm, which should explain all those typos. And I hate editing. Not because I’m in love with my words, but because I like to keep moving and rewriting is just writing the same thing twice. Oddly, I have the exact opposite perspective regarding fiction writing, while still not being in love with my words. Sunday afternoons are usually when I settle in to write DTPW? content. And giving myself a realistic 15-16 posts a month goal has made me feel less pressure too.

What is the most surprising thing about doing this blog?

That’s easy. That a half baked idea resulted in my successful blogging venture to date. Every blog I do is popular in its on way with some overlap from folks who just like reading my writing. Some people really dig my Homicide: Life on the Street blogging experiment, others like my Cinemalphabet series. But the pen blogging is universal in its appeal. Who knew? Though I’d love to be known as the chick who is the authority on Bruce Willis’ extensive body of cheesy and fun films or which nail polish goes best with various Barbra Streisand films, I am perfectly content to be known as the chick who loves teal and writing about pens.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 02/11/2011 12:18 pm

    Angelina, what a beautiful name!

    I found your blog because I followed Shapely Prose for a long time and liked your writing there. We both like feminism and pens! It’s a sure fire winner for me 😉

  2. 02/12/2011 2:29 am

    Hey, we’ve got Bruce Willis and pens in common. That’s more than enough for me!


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