As I tried to come up with an idea for this month’s blog post I started thinking about ideas themselves. Where do they come from and how? In short, how does ideation happen? I want to think grand and lofty thoughts, so how do I do that?

I think we are all familiar with the phenomenon of the spark of inspiration. It comes unexpectedly and often at the time when we are least prepared to accept it. For me it always seems to come with my hands are wet, so I can neither write nor type. We can help steer these ideas, I propose. We are not slave to their whims. While what I suggest may not guarantee the thoughts and ideas we want they will be more likely to arise.

That spark of inspiration stems from the subconscious, and we know from experience that we have some influence in the subconscious feedback loop. If you are foolish, like me, you have discovered that indulging in the horror genre before bed has a certain, somewhat predictable, effect on your sleep. Even mundane things we’ve dealt with during the day we may find echoed in our sleep.

Our ideas are similarly informed and influenced by the things to which we expose ourselves. So, my challenge to myself and to you is to figure out the kind of thoughts you want to think. Because the oddity of it is that thought begets thought and idea. What you think about becomes what you are more likely to think about. Once you have decided the thoughts and ideas that you wish to have take an honest appraisal of the things you read and watch and listen to as well as the conversations you have. Are they consistent with the ideas you desire? If not, perhaps it is time to make a change. For me it is going to mean less television, most of the shows I watch are just mindless escapist shows, and more reading, especially classics (I just started Oliver Twist) and my Bible and books on theology. What would it look like for you?

Good luck!

The Squire by Baronfig

“The Pen Is a Mighty Sword”

I will admit it, I am not the biggest fan of rollerball pens. There are a few that I like and only one or two that I love. That said, the Schmidt 8126 refill is a pretty solid refill. Sure, it’s not my favorite personally, but I like it pretty well. And even if I didn’t, the Squire takes Parker-style refills so I could experiment with one of the many options available.

The pen body itself is immaculately designed. The half twist to extend the writing tip is flawless. I can easily extend the tip while pulling the pen out of my pocket in one fluid motion. But the design is so good that I don’t have to worry about it writing all over the inside of my pocket. And the threading to replace the refill is so consciously designed that it will not disassemble in my pocket, a problem I’ve experienced before with other pens. (I’ve also had the pen in my pocket with my keys several times and can’t find a scratch on it!) This pen feels so good to hold. I simply can’t describe how good this pen feels. I’ve never held another pen that feels so carefully designed.

When I first opened the pen box I was impressed by the lovely solid weight of the pen. I handed it to my wife and she immediately declared it too heavy, but as soon as she started writing she said, “Never mind, it’s perfect!” The pen’s balance makes the weight disappear.

I got the charcoal Squire, so the box mine came in was the tiered vertical box. Pulling the Squire out felt like drawing Excalibur from the stone. Epic!!

Clearly, I love this pen. My only complaints are that the refill doesn’t leave as solid a line as I’d like 100% of the time. (It’s still pretty good though. And it’s possible that it’s just my refill.) The other quibble is that the pen barrel feels a little over-logoed. I love the sword logo, so the Baron Fig logo feels like a bit much.

Is this pen for you? If you are willing to pay for quality products instead of settling for the junk you can pick up at the corner grocery, then the answer is yes, absolutely! I backed the kickstarter and couldn’t be happier with the pen I got, and on schedule!