Another year under our belts! We’re practically experts now.
Just kidding. We’re just celebrating making it through one wild and fabulous day from behind the tables.
With the baby arriving a week and a half before the show, we were down to the wire in preparing. We’d done it just the once before, but there were a lot of things I couldn’t quite remember how we’d done last year, and there were a number of things that were possibly not going to make it.
In particular, we had a few shipments of items we were waiting anxiously for that arrived right in the nick of time, one from Kaweco with our Perkeos (soon to be added online), one from Franklin-Christoph with our much anticipated colour-prototypes. We had many of our exclusives, our Noodler’s inks Plains of Abraham and Raven Black, Superior Labor from Japan in full force, Edison pens.
Our big ink release was the Bungubox line from Japan! They literally arrived on Friday, two days before the show. They’re currently available in our brick and mortar shop – we don’t have these in our online shop yet, but we’re working on it. Favourites like Sweet Potato, 4B, Ink of the Witch and more, available in samples or bottles. I can hardly keep up. What a life.
Philip, one of the show’s organizers, asked Jon if he wanted the same tables as last year. Jon said yes, mainly so folks would know how to find us again and it’s nice to be near the windows and not worry about our clutter taking over tables behind us.
I thought it was great because last year, by one end of our tables, there was an area curtained off, hiding piles of chairs and AV equipment. I said to Jon that it would be perfect if the curtains were still there so I could rearrange the AV equipment and nurse the baby behind the curtains, like the Wizard of Oz, except probably a bit more shocking if you accidentally got a peek behind there.
It was actually even better this year, because it was just one curtain covering a recessed area, without much in there – more than enough room to put a chair.
As always, the crowds were amazing. It seemed busier than last year! Or maybe that’s just my imagination. It’s always stressful when you have a line-up at your table because you don’t want people to wait for too long, but it was great to have an opportunity to chat with everyone as they slowly made their way along our tables.
(Also slightly stressful to change the baby’s diaper with an audience, as she really makes it seem like a traumatizing experience for everyone involved, but guess what, baby: WE ALL SURVIVED.)
And the treats! I’d seen sneak peeks of both the 2017 Show Ink, made by KWZ and called Confederation Brown, and the red 2017 Show Pen, made by Bexley, but hadn’t had time to get excited about them. Here they are, both souvenirs of a great day. The Show Pen is numbered, and we got No. 14.
And I also stumbled upon a Parker at the last minute! I had ventured out from behind our tables a few times – to bring Caleb to the bathroom, to pick up lunch – but it wasn’t until the very end that I had time to take a look at what pens were left from the crowds. Of course there wasn’t very much, so imagine my surprise when I came across this beauty.
I seem to have a penchant for both modern and vintage Parkers. The Sonnet is one of my all-time favourite pens, and my vintage Parker Lucky Curve that I picked up at an earlier Scriptus is one of my favourite flex nibs. This Parker is a button filler, not my favourite filling mechanism as I like to see into how the ink is doing in there, but I couldn’t resist such a gorgeous finish. It’s a regular (non-flex) fine nib.
I had thought I might leave early with the baby, but after I had wrangled lunch, it was nearly 2:00, and with the show ending at 4:00 and the baby sleeping, we made it all the way to the end of the day.
Someone suggested that I was brave to bring both the baby and Caleb, and of course I accepted the compliment because I will accept any compliment coming near me these days – someone else jokingly asked if we brought the cat, too, after seeing the zoo at our table. To be honest, though, it’s sometimes easier when I have so many people around. Where else do I have so many eyes to watch out for where little feet are running, or hands to hold babies when I need to bring those little feet to the bathroom? It takes a village, and I love that this is ours.
Caleb was in terrific form – moving boxes from here to there after someone else had moved it here, shoes off and lost in the clutter, hiding under tables, running through crowds. He’s a very helpful kid – he likes to observe and then pitch in, and sometimes it’s astounding how astute he is. It’s a wonderful trait, although on the other hand, sometimes you have to wait until his back is turned and repack the boxes he’s “packed.”
As much as I sometimes wonder what he’ll think of his childhood, I love that he can be here with us. I sometimes think to myself how much easier it will be without a toddler in tow, and now a baby, but one thing is for sure – I will miss the days I don’t have to look around in alarm and discover him rooting around in a box, spilling milk everywhere.
Scriptus is such a wonderful event – almost everything about it speaks to how incredible the community in Toronto and Canada is. A completely free event, hosted in the centre of the city, in a public library, its volunteer army made up of young and young at heart, and the day filled from beginning to end with some pretty crazy and beautiful people.
Behind the scenes, it’s an opportunity for our family and team to mobilize, wake up in the early hours of the morning, heave boxes up our cars and hope we’ve remembered to pack the masking tape and get change from the bank and who put the price tags in which box and strategize about how to fit into the elevator. To eat warmish noodles on the floor in rotation and to pass the baby around.
Scriptus is an opportunity for folks to come from near and far and find treasures and supplies to keep them writing for another year. Friends who know each other online or pen pals who have written across postal systems meet up in person and wander around all the excitement. As a vendor, it’s our opportunity to help folks have a great day finding supplies for writing and a hobby they love or are just getting into, and our once a year moment to say hello in person after emails or comments or likes from cyberspace.
Each year we get a chance to meet and say hello to people, but as the years pass, it’s incredible to hear how people have followed our story, or watched Caleb grow up. It’s such a thrill and a honour to hear how people read the blog on their commute in the morning, or feel the same way about their cat, or to receive cards of congratulations for the new baby – folks who have supported our tiny family and fledgling business for four years now. So many people have poured into us to help us succeed, and seeing so many folks here who have been with us for years or who have found us only recently is a reminder of just that.
At the show, someone came up to us and said that he and his sister were just like Caleb when they were young, coming to shows like this, crawling around under tables, and he had faith that Caleb would grow up with a passion for this kind of stuff. I’m sure he meant stationery and pens, but maybe he also meant family business. The family’s business and all the business we get into as a family.