Hailey Dezort, a Chicago-based book publicist, is here to share her love of fountain pens. We talk about stationary stores, pen conventions, pen after dark sessions, and where to get special inks. We also chat about her newfound love of comic books!
Hailey 0:00 Hi, my name is Hailey. And my favorite thing is fountain pens.
Announcer 0:05 Welcome to the finding favorites Podcast where we explore your favorite things without using an algorithm. Here's your host, Leah Jones.
Leah Jones 0:17 Hello and welcome to Finding Favorites. It is late on Sunday, December 5 11pm. The eighth and final night of Hanukkah, and I spent the almost the entire day sleeping. Not entirely true. got up this morning had a wonderful breakfast with my friend Jonathan, who was in town, dropped him off at the airport, came back and then sat down for a few minutes and slept for four hours. Why you ask? Well, let's see. Friday I started my second round of chemo. So as I've learned a round of chemo was three weeks. So I'm four weeks and now to my 12 weeks of chemo. Started my second round. So second round of four rounds. A lot of math a lot of fractions with chemo.
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Leah Jones 1:10 Last night, a dear group of friends Ezra, Sarah Beth, Amy, Jonathan, Mike, Rocco all helped host the annual latke party, my annual Hanukkah party that I've been doing, I don't know 10 or 15 years, not 15. Not quite 15. But I've been having this party on the Saturday night of Hanukkah for over a decade. It's one of my most favorite traditions. It's like an open house. I cook latkes all night.
Leah Jones 1:40 And in January of this year, I send out magnetic I ordered magnetic "save the dates" and started sending them out so we'd all have something to look forward to. And then I got diagnosed with breast cancer and I was so sad that like I had jinxed myself by sending out invitations too early for this party. was so sad. And my friends were just like absolutely not the party's not canceled. And Ezra who is my upstairs neighbor, hosted like did Amy and Sarah Beth and Rocco cooked all day, my neighbor Mike made cocktails. We had two fire pits in the backyard. So we had fire, smores, magic fire, glow sticks. You know if there's something we've learned during COVID It's that we can socialize outdoors a lot more of the year than we ever have. So a double firepit backyard party in December is pretty rockin. I wore my new fancy dress from fringe and CO a "Tik Tokmade me buy it" dress. I shaved my head this week, my hair started to fall out. And I got to talk to a lot of people last night. But while I'm physically still feeling pretty good. I had a really had a hard time like just talking to people last night finding the words I describe my brain as being like peppermint. What I meant was Swiss cheese. So I came inside to change my clothes before the party was over and kind of fell asleep. My recliner. And then I slept all day to day, and thus the late edit and late release. I'm going to update the show notes tomorrow.
Leah Jones 3:38 I have so many great notes for this episode with Hailey talking about fountain pens. But what I'm going to do is just get this posted the audio posted tonight, and all the links up tomorrow. So I'm talking to Hailey DeZort. She's a book publicist here in Chicago, we talked about fountain pens, we talked about comic books, and you are going to have a new hobby to try at the end of this conversation with Hailey. So wear masks, wash your hands, get that booster shot if you're eligible. Well, I think we're all eligible now. Kids are getting their shots, their vaccines. grownups are getting their boosters. It's good. And I'll just keep marching through this chemo stuff. Thank you to everyone who has helped me again with meals with chores, the organizing with visits I really feel well taken care of by all my hospital husbands regardless of gender and regardless of whether or not you actually have gone with me to the hospital. So keep enjoying your favorite things.
Leah Jones 5:02 Hello, and welcome to finding favorites. I'm your host, Leah Jones in this as the podcast where we learn about people's favorite things, and we get recommendations without using an algorithm. Today, it is a Gloomy Sunday morning in Chicago. And so I am really thrilled to be to be able to have a nice conversation, bring some sunshine inside. I'm talking with Haiey DeZort resort. Hailey is a marketing and events coordinator in the books industry. And also is here in gloomy Chicago today. Hailey, how are you doing?
Unknown Speaker 5:38 I'm doing great. I mean, what a way to perk up a Sunday because it's just raining all day. So I'm happy to be here.
Leah Jones 5:46 I am, too. I otherwise, I would have just I'm pretty sure slept until the sunset.
Hailey 5:53 Truly. I woke up and was like, wait, what time is it? Where am I? Cuz it was still dark? And like 10am?
Leah Jones 6:02 Yeah. Yeah, it's a real. It's a weird one. But there's still I live across the street from one of my park. And there's still baseball happening. So those poor kids and parents.
Unknown Speaker 6:16 The commitment is great to see. But I would not be one. Yeah. Like I like the warm.
Leah Jones 6:24 Yeah. So Hailey, you're in books. i This fall, I've been talking to a lot of authors. How did you find yourself doing? Working in the books industry and doing marketing and event coordination?
Hailey 6:39 Yeah, so it started out as a really, like, young desire to be in the industry. I was in high school and loved reading. And it was a passion of mine. But I was never a writer, and also just like a really terrible editor. Like I struggle with grammar, sometimes, games, like, you know, editing people's papers. And I was thinking about what else I could do in order to work adjacent to books, like how do I who is who are these people that bring a book into the world beside an author. And so after lots of Googling, I realized that there's a whole publishing industry. And I took a marketing course, in high school that I loved. And my teacher was super sweet and told me I was good at and kind of from there, it just sparked that journey for me to just really push myself to do that I just be a total tunnel vision and then was like, I am going to do this thing. Oh. And then I'm here.
Leah Jones 7:44 That's amazing. I definitely did not know that book. Marketing was the thing in high school.
Hailey 7:51 Yeah, I don't think most people unless you're in the industry, honestly, I don't think people actually even think about it as adults. If you're a reader even Right.
Leah Jones 8:00 Right. Like, how did this book get into my house? Oh, I don't know. I bought it. I watched I went to my local bookstore, and I bought it. Yeah, I was talking to someone recently about, you know, in high school, the professions, at least that I knew about, like teachers, nursing lawyers, you know, you know, what you see on TV and what your parents do and what your parents, your friend's parents do. And other than that, like, those are your possible futures.
Hailey 8:31 Exactly. And I think it's really, like you're saying the things that are on TV. So there's since then been some TV shows like, I'm not sure if you've ever heard of younger, it has Hilary Duff. Yeah. And it's, she works in the publishing industry, but they're both editors. And so it really becomes like, there's, you can be an author, or you can be an editor. And everyone assumes, like, I think outside of the book industry, that if you're working in it, that you just you want to write a book, and I definitely have no desire to do that. But I love so much finding readers for the books that we're working on and finding that perfect match. Because when someone really loves a book and connects with it, it's just such a great feeling to know that you had like a hand in that and you see it and you're like, yes,
Leah Jones 9:14 yeah. So are all the books behind you. Books that you have worked with, or there are some of them are your personal collection, and some of them are your authors.
Hailey 9:24 So most of the ones that you see behind me are my personal collection, and then I have a bookshelf that is a little bit out of the frame right now. That is all of the books that I have worked on. And so they accumulate very quickly though, I will say I slowly start to run out of room and have to kind of go through everything I own and you know, donate some things to better homes. But yeah, I own a lot of books for anyone listening. I have probably over I want to say like 300 books in my office library situation, right?
Leah Jones 9:59 Yeah. Just in one room, and I remember oh my gosh, it was probably 15 years ago. I don't remember her name but the her blog was called Book slut.
Hailey 10:11 She was very new to the blog.
Leah Jones 10:15 Yeah. And she had a I got invited to a party at her house so that's awful. I'm like I don't remember her name but I was in her house. And she had you know, every line wild with bookshelves but then also like just stacks of books. It was like out of like an illustrator. It felt like you were in a children's book are just because it was like stacks and stacks you could imagine like a Tony, Tony, Tony Apollo. Like it was almost like a Strega Nona of books situation.
Hailey 10:48 I love it. I try so hard not to have books on the floor. I'm one of those people who in in theory, I really like things to look like not cluttered and really clean and almost minimalistic and yet, I love books. And so we hit that. So I'm always either trying to do like a spring cleaning, or buying more bookshelves that that make it just look nicer because books on the floor though, aesthetically, can look really cute on ice on like Instagram and other people's homes. And I love it for them. For me. I'm distressed. I'm like I need to clean.
Leah Jones 11:23 Right? Well, also, God forbid you have a flood. The books on the floor have no chance.
Hailey 11:30 Yes, I could not. Oh, my heart thinking about that.
Leah Jones 11:34 Yeah. So Haley, did you have any? You know, it's a gloomy fall Sunday. But did you get to have any nice fall adventures?
Hailey 11:47 Yeah, I had. Well, yesterday, I went for a walk in Andersonville. And then I also went down to Pilsen. So in Chicago, totally opposite neighbor. Oh. But I started the morning sitting at a coffee shop journaling and reading which I haven't been to a coffee shop in forever to just sit and do that. So it felt like such a treat. And then my boyfriend and I went to Pilsen and explored some bookstore site and grabbed a cocktail and some food at if anyone who's listening in Chicago, try out Pilsen yards. It is so delicious. I was first time there and I was blown away.
Leah Jones 12:28 What are the what are the bookstores in Pilsen?
Hailey 12:31 So Pilsen community books is there. And they're really great. They're owned by two people that I really adore. Katherine Solheim, and Mandy medley, they do a lot of work to bring in, kind of like political titles that just like really informed people like the movements that are happening. Yeah. And they're just really involved in community organizing, but they also just have such a great selection of fiction and poetry, and also Spanish language. Books for the community as well, because they're based in Pilsen, which is right at least Spanish speaking. And then open books, which is a nonprofit organization has two locations and one of them is in Pilsen. Okay. We like a huge warehouse of just used books, which is really wonderful to walk through. So those are the two down there that are just really lovely. And Pilsen is really gorgeous like the when you walk in it's these floor to ceiling wood, bookshelves, and it's like everything you kind of want a bookstore to look like. So ascetically cozy and great.
Leah Jones 13:50 Yeah. Oh, that sounds like a lovely way to spend an hour a day.
Hailey 13:56 Yeah. I really enjoyed it. The sun was finally out and so took advantage of it.
Leah Jones 14:01 Yeah, like I was telling you, my nephew and I went to the Chicago green theater Alliance, which is like all the Chicago theaters that are, I guess, trying to make it possible to, you know, reuse, reduce recycle. They had an E waste drop off, but they had a costume and clothing swap at the Children's Theater in Chicago, and it was just you know, like when you're there's contemporary clothes, but then you pick up something and it's like Northwestern Pirates of Penzance. Charles Jones's pants so like some of the clothes had like the the love that theater, the production the artist's name or the actor's name in it. There was I took one sign of a box that said, it was like getting out of the business novelty costumes and wigs and I was like, I love it. I love it. I want to know everything about this person,
Hailey 14:58 right? There's this story behind that that's so fun. You're digging through it and like it's more than just these costumes. You're getting some kind of mysteries. No, I, that's such a awesome adventure in its own.
Leah Jones 15:12 Yeah. Or you'd hit a pile of, oh, it's a dozen green skirts. You know, it's five jackets with white jackets with red pockets. So you would also get a sense of like, how big the chorus was, or I don't know, I thought it was really interesting.
Hailey 15:31 That's so awesome. I wonder how they accumulated everything, especially like the going out of business? Or was it just donations or Yaks? I've never heard of this before. So I think that's really cool.
Leah Jones 15:45 Yeah, some of it came in wardrobe boxes. And some of it a woman arrived when we arrived in an SUV and she was, it seemed like the person in her social group helping collect clothes for various causes. A friend was moving out of town. They collected for refugees, and then didn't need all the clothes they had collected. And she had, like 12 or more bags of clothes and blankets and pillows. So when her stuff got there, they just put a giant, they were like, This pile is sorting and it was just a pile of garbage bags that people started going through. Somebody's got a whole comforter set.
Hailey 16:32 That's wonderful. Good. Yeah, yeah.
Leah Jones 16:35 But there's also I don't know, like tailored really high quality clothes, really silly costumes. There was a hat section. That I was like, Oh, do I need a viking hat? I'd know Leah you don't? You don't need a Viking The answer
Hailey 16:53 is actually yes. Yeah. Go back.
Leah Jones 16:54 We'll see. But it was it was really nice to have like the windows open and drive through the city on a sunny day. I really enjoyed that.
Hailey 17:06 Yeah, I hope we get more of those before winter comes.
Leah Jones 17:12 Yeah, I'm fine with the cooler temps but this I'm gonna need some sunshine. mixin
Hailey 17:18 Yes. 100% Give me more fall moments
Leah Jones 17:35 so Hayley, you are someone with a lot of favorite things? Yes. What are we going to talk about today?
Hailey 17:42 We are going to talk about my fountain pen collection.
Leah Jones 17:48 Now, it looked like you had earlier before we started recording, like you had pulled it in front of you. And did you unroll it?
Hailey 17:56 Yeah. So just unrolled one one. Little cases that I have. This is a like a pen roll. And then I have several it houses. Six. Let me pull these out. So you could just see the variety. There is like a purple celluloid. This one is called an ester Brock. It this one is like one of it's a fountain pen, but when you push it it pops out. Kind of like a I don't want I don't know why I'm gonna get
Leah Jones 18:36 clicky pen. It's a clicky pen, a very fancy clicky pen. It's like it's silver. It's a lavender, shiny lavender. And kind of looks like a James Bond weapon.
Hailey 18:49 Yes. And it's called a pilot decimo Okay, then. This one here is an aurora veneer. It's limited to 888 in the world, and they're made in Italy. And then this one is really fun. It's a Mont Blanc, Marilyn Monroe. And the pen shape is meant to look like a high heel like the bow. It
Leah Jones 19:17 looks like a stiletto. Yeah.
Hailey 19:19 It has a little pearl on the clip. And then on the nib is what has an engraving of Marilyn Monroe on it. Wow. And it has her signature and engraved on the bottom finial is what they call like the bottom of the pen and little diamonds engraved for the song that she sings. Wow. Amazing. Yeah. So those are just some of the
Leah Jones 19:56 that's just a quick glance. Yeah. So let's Go back to the beginning. How did you? When did you either receive your first fountain pen? Or did they come on your radar and you're like, Oh, I've got to get one.
Hailey 20:14 So I've always been really into stationery and I was that kid, which I feel like this is a lot of how and pen collectors origin stories, where you're that kid that loves school supplies shopping so much. And I loved like buying different patterns and color coding my notes and doing those things. I just loved the experience. And so I've always really enjoyed stationery and I there in Andersonville, there used to be the stationery shop called Martha Mae. And it was one of the most beautiful stories I've ever walked into just like design wise, right. And she had these cool Aiko sports, which are these little pocket pens that are really cute. Um, and I opened it up, and it was a fountain pen. And I was just really intrigued by that, right. And so I tried writing with it. And it was just a really fun experience. And one of the cool aspects of a fountain pen is that you can change out the ink. So it can be different colors. And then there was an array of inks like purples and greens. And so I bought that. And for the longest time I was just writing with with that, but like anything else that I slowly get into I like dive really hard into like research. And so I started just Googling on the internet that there were like all of these other pen brands, and there was all of these different fountain pens. And then I discovered that there are pen shows. Oh, I know. There are full conventions for sellers and buyers to come where they showcase tons of pens. Oh, so I and so this
Leah Jones 22:11 was then a pre COVID discovery for you.
Hailey 22:15 Yeah, so I got into fountain pens around 2018
Leah Jones 22:21 Because I thought Martha May was a pencil shop that she have a lot of pencils to.
Hailey 22:28 She did. Okay. Yeah, she had pencils as well. She had it was a lot of art stuff. It was okay file and pens. It was pencils, it was paints, and watercolors and things of that sort. So okay, there was a lot there. And I just gravitated I saw these little quick Oh, sports and then was in love. And I decided I wanted to go to the Chicago pen show. Sure. And I was super nervous because I was like no idea what to expect. And I just kind of assumed that there would be like all of these like, I don't know, old like gruff men with their like fountain pens. And it was such a wonderful experience. And I also I started listening to other podcasts that were about fountain pen. So I was learning more.
Hailey 23:19 So there's this podcast called the Pen Addict. And that I just learned a lot through Yeah. And I went to the fountain pen show, and there was people of all ages, which was really, really cool. But people who just had so much more information about fountain pens and how they write, and I was so delighted, there was all these fancy inks with like, glitter or they cheated. And they had like different. They called Chroma shaders, where when you put it down on paper, it's like a blue, and then a pink and then a purple, it gives off different hues. Um, and what was so funny to me, but in a really great way. They have pen show after after dark, where everyone just goes to a bar, and like, opens up these pen cases. And then everyone just like, hangs out and drinks and like writes with each other's pens. And there's like people who have like, collections of like 100 or more, and they have like really rare, really expensive, like, pens that are worth 1000s of dollars and you're just like, I can't believe I'm touching a pen that's like $5,000 in my hand and the community was really great. And after that I kind of like then spiraled and I bought like a couple more fountain pens and it just like became a whole thing.
Leah Jones 24:38 Oh, so I'm, I kind of want to pause slightly. When you pulled out one of the pens you said and this is the Phil filial finial. finial. finial? Yeah, maybe walk us through the basics of a fountain pen. I feel like most it's such a cliche gift. Like I received one when I graduated from grad school, and I maybe addressed a few envelopes with it, but I like I didn't know like, I don't know how to make one part of my day, but like, what are the parts of a fountain pen?
Hailey 25:14 Yeah. So for the fountain pen, you have the cap. And then on a cap, the top part usually, or not, usually sometimes there is an emblem. So for this like Mont Blanc, there's a little month long star. It's a top, a top finial. And then same with the bottom. It's like the absolutely kind of end of like, the pen barrel and the cap. Okay. So typically they'll be those are what you would call like finials. There is the the pen itself, which is like the barrel. And then it has the nib, which is the like, where you're writing what what you're writing with, right. And underneath the nib is a feeder, which is usually kind of like black, I think ebonite material that feeds the ink into the nib,
Leah Jones 26:13 okay, and it usually has like horizontal cuts in it, right?
Hailey 26:17 Yeah, horizontal lines right under the nib. And then, depending on what kind of fountain pen you have this one, if I unscrew it, the pen barrel and screw it from the nib there, you can put a little cartridge okay. Or there are cartridge converters that look like a little almost suction on it, and it sucks up the ink for maybe a bottle from a bottle of ink if you have a Yeah, and then you can connect it to the nib and then put the hand barrel back on and so what's really fun about that aspect is that you can try all sorts of different inks and right with also like different colors like for me that's like such a fun aspect is personalizing the writing experience. And that in some, some pens, I'll show you another one have a piston filler, boom.
Hailey 27:20 So I have another Mont Blanc. It's called that Egyptomania has little hieroglyphs on the side of it for mop Blonk. And then it has a scarab on the nib, because it is like a celebration of the discovery of tooten common and so they came up with this whole line. But basically with this, in order to fill it, you would put the nib in a bottle of ink, and you would twist the top of it, and it would come up. And then you would twist it back down. And then the ink would be suctioned in from the nib section. And so that's some of the sometimes more expensive fountain pens will have that kind of filling system. Okay, so what's interesting with fountain pens is that there's really different designs and the ways that they look but then even how they kind of function themselves as a cartridge only converter, filler piston filler. And so that's what makes it really cool when you can geek out about like, Oh, I really like this filling system, or I like how this works. Right.
Leah Jones 28:34 Thank you, that helps. I know it's going to help all the other questions coming. So we go back to the Chicago pen convention, and you're at Pens after Dark.
Hailey 28:47 Yes.
Leah Jones 28:49 And how many fountain pens did you walk away with from that convention?
Hailey 28:57 I think like four. Yeah, I had four fountain pens. And one I had actually, people would trade fountain pens like "Oh, I really want that" and so someone had traded.
Hailey 29:07 My first. So I have a Pilot Decimo which is like the clicky pen. And what I started to learn with fountain pens. So, with the nib, there are different widths, you can get a fine nib, a medium nib, a broad nib, an italic. And that shifts kind of how you write with it. If you like inks that you like seeing like really what pens and being a little bit softer. Maybe you go with like a wider nib like a medium or broad but if you like really fine writing and you like really thin points, you would do maybe a fine or an extra fine and so that was like something that I was like testing out all these pens like okay, they like to write with what suits my handwriting style, right? Um, but then I also didn't realize that Certain nibs are made with different materials.
Hailey 30:03 So the Pilot Decimo is actually made with 14 karat gold. Okay, so with that it makes the material is like softer and balanced here. So it makes the writing experience really smooth and really like easy on the hands. Yeah. A steel nib is has a little bit more stiffness to it. Which, depending on the brand, like it would still be a really smooth writing experience. But it's not going to have that kind of bounce. So it just feels different in the hand. And that's like something I just had no idea about until feature Hey, this is like what this pen is. Someone treated me I forget what, like I gave them but they they gave me a Pilot Decimo and that was my first experience with a 14 karat gold nib. It was like this is magic. The way that it feels. It feels like butter in your hand. Yeah, just super smooth on the paper.
Leah Jones 31:03 Yeah. And do you just write on notebook paper? Do you just write on paper? What type of paper do you use when you use a fountain pen.
Hailey 31:12 So there are a lot of different notebook brands that are fountain pen friendly. Tomoya River is like a huge one within the fountain pen community. But it is really it has like a thin paper. But a reason why a lot of people really like it is because it shows off the properties of ink. So if you're a person that's like I like all these colors of ink or glitters or shimmer. That is a really fun one.
Hailey 31:39 I currently use Misubis Cosmo AirLite folios. They just write really smoothly with the pens, I think they show off the ink properties really well. And there's this thing with fountain pen ink because you're laying down like lots of like, like colorful inks. This thing that can people can experience it's called ghosting. So when you put so much ink on the paper that it exceeds through just almost like if you're painting watercolor on paper, you could see it come through with Cosmo AirLite, you don't really get ghosting. Okay, so it makes it when I'm journaling really easy for me to like write and then, you know, turn the page and then continue writing with all of my various colored inks. Yeah, and it's not distracting.
Hailey 32:28 But I would say there's also majority of paper, which is really great. And these are like cheap options as well. They're not that you're don't necessarily have to spend like a lot of money to get paper in order for it to work for you. Yeah. But there's a lot of websites like pen shops and storefronts that have a variety of fountain pen friendly paper. So in Chicago, there's a place called Atlas Stationers that has like all of these notebooks downtown. When I was first diving into fountain pens, there's a website called Goulet Pens, and they have a YouTube channel where they basically walk you through like fountain pen 101, like this whole series of videos, and the people who record the videos are so funny and just really great to watch. In general, it's not, it doesn't feel really dry and boring. So that's also a good place to start for people who maybe have like more questions or want to get into it and are curious.
Leah Jones 33:30 So it sounds like fountain pens are part of your daily life.
Hailey 33:37 Yes, yeah. I you know, I work from home full time and I work always on the computer. And so one of the aspects to that is just feeling fatigue from being on the computer or having screen time. And so a way for me to decompress is to journal I read a lot. So I like keeping keeping reading journals. And I find that when I type notes on the computer, I like never go back to them. I never like sit there and like look over. Even for work I have like a work notebook that I can't have my notes in. And so so much gets lost when I actually just dump it onto my computer if it's mostly only for me if it's like notes for me to remember. And so with me writing notes for work or creating strategies or doing a reading journal, or even just a personal journal of my thoughts every day having that experience be so fun, and like picking up like oh, I want to write with this pen today just makes the experience more fun and gives it a little bit more flair. Yeah. And brings a lot of enjoyment. Yeah,
Leah Jones 35:06 So some of the pens, you've shown me have inqua inkwells, and they have ink in them. Do you store that? Do you? You're like, I'm going to write with the Marilyn Monroe pen today because she's got purple ink and I'm in a purple mood. Or do you say like, I want this pen? And then you swap out the color? Or like, how do you? What goes into deciding what pen or you're in the mood for?
Hailey 35:33 Yeah, so I tend to match my inks with my pens, so that I like the the pair like so it comes kind of as like, a package deal. Yeah, for the most part where I'm like, Oh, I have this really lovely purple, and by Aurora Optima, which is like a purple, like lilac color, the pen itself. And then I, I'll be like, Okay, I want to I want to write with that. And sometimes I in my journals, typically, once you start going down the following pen, and like the notebooks, Yeah, cuz people do the whole like stationery. So I have like stickers and washi tapes. Yeah, I decorate my journals. And then if I'm using certain colors, I'll pick the pen that has the color.
Hailey 36:20 But there's other pens, where you just end up gravitating towards for a period of time, because they're really nice to write with, you're like I'm really enjoying writing with this one. And so oftentimes, that's how it'll happen. I have a Pelican, which is an M, they have different numbers to designate the size. And it's called a Pelican M 405. And it is a white barrel, and I have this like glittery blue pink ink in it. Oh, and the ink is called Mystic Mountain. They always have these really fun names that kind of give a story to it, which I think when objects have stories behind it, it's easier to form an emotional attachment. Yeah, to kind of identify with it in a certain way. And so that's something that I love the writing experience of that pad, but I absolutely love how that ink looks. So I'm constantly writing with it. And picking it up just because I want glitter on my pages. Yeah.
Leah Jones 37:27 Are fountain pens like, use it or lose it? Like, do you have to write with them regularly? Do you store them with ink in them? Or do they need to be dry? Like what's the proper? I guess maintenance or maintenance? Yes, that's the word.
Hailey 37:44 Yeah, so I typically store them horizontal in these in my little pen cases. And I do store them with ink. Like they have ink in them. I have probably like 20 fountain pens inked up right now. I just can't use 20 fountain pens every single day. And for the most part, I tried to rotate through them. But like I said, I have favorites that I gravitate to more frequently. They recommend, you know, for fountain pen maintenance to clean your pens regularly, I will say there's been like months where I'm like, Oh, I forgot about that pen. And it takes a little bit of time to clean, but you're not going to necessarily destroy your pen. I mean, if you leave it in there for five years, maybe and then never touch it and pick it up then right I think there can be some, some, some consequences to that.
Hailey 38:37 But it also depends on the ink manufacturer, their inks that, in general, like are maybe a little bit better for your pens, and some there's like a pen that I had in head dried out the ink dried out. And it looks like it had a little bit of crud on it. I cleaned it, it was totally fine. It didn't do anything to my fountain pen. So they're they're pretty easy to maintain. I think the cleaning process can be a little either for some people tedious or for other people therapeutic like I love sitting, seeing putting on Netflix on my laptop and just like cleaning my fountain pens like that. Also the like every step of the way. It kind of feels like a process of decompressing or relaxing to me.
Leah Jones 39:28 Oh, that sounds really kind of lovely. Have you been able to go back to... You said 2018. So you had there were a couple years in there where you could have done more in person. fountain pen events. Were you able to get to any more or was that like the big event and you're waiting for the post? COVID return?
Hailey 39:57 Yeah, so 2019 I was in Europe, which is not a bad place to be when the Chicago Pen show happens. And then 2020, we all went through COVID. And so this year, the Chicago pen show did happen. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to, to go, we had had plans. And I also, I, I have spent my allowance on pens this year. So I was also just thinking about that.
Leah Jones 40:25 Right? That's right,
Hailey 40:28 You go to that show, and you're just enabled by everyone around you to continue to buy more. And so I'm looking toward going next year, but I have people in Chicago, who are part of the fountain pen community, we do little meetups, we'll go to Atlas Stationers together, and we'll hang out. I'm also on a slack channel that has about I think, maybe 1800 people around the world. Yeah. And it is specifically a fountain pen, community Slack channel. And so there's, like, I'm, I'm on it. And I like messaging with people, or there's like all of these threads where people are talking about like fountain pens, and people will post like their new pen days when they get a pen in the mail.
Hailey 41:15 So it's, it's a really lovely community, everyone is super nice. And they also have a pen pal, Slack channel. So you can put your address in and there it's, I could be a better pen pal than I have been this past year. But during COVID, that was like such a really beautiful way to connect with people. I was writing to maybe like, I don't know, like seven or eight people like from Germany to Switzerland to Chicago, New York, like I was connecting with all of these different people, and a time where I felt really isolated. And to go down to your mailbox and see this really beautiful letter and someone you know, talking to you is a different way than just like that instant gratification of like texting someone. So that was a really wonderful aspects that came out of the community and kind of this fountain pen collecting was the connection and other kind of forms during COVID. Yeah.
Leah Jones 42:19 Oh, that sounds really lovely.
Hailey 42:22 Yeah, it was, it was it was really great. And people, some of them are artists, some of them are photographers I've received art that they've done. They're like, Oh, they painted like a little image and like one of their letters or I've received like, photos that they've taken. And it's, it's a really cool way to just get to know someone a way that I think is not often used anymore. Like people are not writing letters or snail mail. Super. All
Leah Jones 42:52 right. Are there inks? Or fountain pens that you're like, Oh, I wouldn't. They're not my people. You know, like, our dear fountain pens? Do people just have like, a wide array of pens and and they're generally nice. Are there any pens that are red flags?
Hailey 43:15 Yeah, I don't think that there's any pens that are red. It's crazy. Well, everyone clicks really differently. So there are people who are very loyal to brand so there are people who love Mont Blanc as only click that and then there are people who are, you know, are like I can't spend more than, you know, $50 $60 Maybe 100 is their top so then any of the foam pens they have are within that range, which there's some really amazing fountains that are really cheap. Like the Kaweco Sport. My first fountain pen is like $26 which for pen is expensive in general
Leah Jones 43:52 But for fountain pen is not
Hailey 43:54 Yes. Or a Pilot Preppy. I recently purchased one. It's $7. It's amazing to write with. I was like freaking out over it. I have very expensive pens. I was like, I love this. This is a great experience. And so it really can run the gamut. I kind of collect anything that aesthetically a pleat like pleases me. Yeah. And I feel like I if a fountain pen has a story behind it. I really love that I am the fountain pen, the Mont Blanc, Egyptomania. I wanted to be. I wanted to be an Egyptologist when I was seven. Yeah. And I was really obsessed with like, you know, Egypt and the pyramids and archaeology. And I watched all of the Nat Geo documentaries and went to the Field Museum. And so when that pen came on to market, I was like, I need it because it just for me. It's an nostalgia thing of reminder of like some of my first I think like obsessions
Hailey 45:00 Honestly, yeah, I was really curious about. So that's kind of how, and there's certain brands that I love, where I'm like, Okay, I've written with this pen, I love it so much. And now they come out with another that looks super pretty. Like I also want that one, right. So you kind of just get to see what brands you like to write with. And then kind of exterior exploring that kind of stuff. Like I've, I've bought a lot of pens, and I've sold a lot of pens in the process of my collection class, okay, because of just trying to figure out oh, I really like this or Oh, I, I like it, but not enough to keep it because they're these other things that I enjoy more. Yeah.
Leah Jones 45:42 What are other pens that you have with strong stories attached to them?
Hailey 45:49 Um, so I would say the Aurora, Venus or veneer, that this was like my first really expensive. And so it's like this beautiful pink. But it was modeled after, like the Greek goddess Venus. Mm hmm. And, for me, I just have always loved like mythology and folklore. And so just even having the name attached to that, and there being some kind of story behind it. Right? How beautiful it was. That one, just like is really special to me, for that reason. Then, another one that kind of follows. The line of mythology is I have a pen from this company called Genesis. Ooh, it has an it's called the Norse mythology pen. And so it has all of these Norse like images, like mythological images engraved on the cap and the body.
Leah Jones 47:03 But the body is like transparent. And it's covered in runes, yeah.
Hailey 47:08 Yep. And then the cap is like a kind of white and then even on the section that you hold the pen, it has these engravings. And so for that, A, I just love how it looks. And then, you know, there's those kind of, for me really fun moments where I'm like, I'm reading a book about mythology. And so now I'm gonna write with my pet, you know, with your kind of moment. Yeah, yeah. So those kinds of moments where it's creating a whole experience for me that I find I get enjoyment out
Leah Jones 47:41 of, yeah. And do you have a cause that Norse pen?is big?
Hailey 47:52 It is big.
Leah Jones 47:55 As you've collected and realize what you like? Are there pens that are either like just too big or too? Like, how does it? How do you do have you zeroed in on a right size pen, like what feels good to write with?
Hailey 48:09 Yeah, I have smaller hands. So that pen is unusual for me because it is so thick, and is a thicker body. And even the the section where I hold it, it's thicker. That one feels comfortable to me, I think writing for super long periods, I would switch it out. Because what feels most comfortable is actually thinner, and smaller pens, so sometimes can be really, really, really long. And for me, depending on the weight of the material, it makes my hand or my wrist tired. So like lightweight, thin. And more compact fountain pen. So for example, there's a brand called the I'd mentioned earlier Peliken, and they have all of these different sizes and M 200. and M like 400 600 800. And when you go up, it actually increases in size. And there are some pens that they make that are eight hundreds that are really beautiful. Like I looked at them, I really wanted one of them. And I tried in my hand. It's just too big for me. And so this pen that I'm showing you is called the M 200. Peliken Ruby. Yeah. And it's pretty small. Yeah. And pretty compact. And what can also change the size of pen is it can be what they call posted. If you put the cap on the back, I don't post there are people who always do, I don't. And so when I hold it, it's pretty again small in my hand and feels light to hold.
Leah Jones 49:53 Yeah. So why don't you post?
Hailey 49:57 mostly because it comes down to the size. For me, so if when I post I feel like it's a little bit too top heavy and then it it's uncomfortable for me to write things that are a little bit lightweight. Because when writing with fountain pens, you should be able to kind of lightly right like not dig your hand in and feel like you need to put a lot of pressure. So it's actually really it's it's really good on like your hand and on your wrist. And I also sometimes experienced carpal tunnel syndrome. Yeah. And kind of having that like lightness and being able to write kind of almost like gliding over pages with the fountain pens. Yeah, it's really nice for my my hand at my wrist. Yeah. Oh.
Leah Jones 50:54 And how about the world of inks? away? Now, when you like when you give yourself your annual budget for fountain pens, is there a hardware and inquire you know, like, is there an ink budget and a pin budget? Or is that all in and you divide up? Like, it seems you see also an ink collector to me
Hailey 51:20 100% Also, I should have an ink and a pen budget. I don't know what those are. They don't have fun. I just try not to buy too much. Um, yeah, so I have, oh, I don't know, maybe like 30 bottles of ink or more, maybe a closer to 50 Honestly, at this point, there are all of these brands that are coming out with you know, I have a purple ink that has a silver shimmer, or I have a purple ink that is a slightly different hue that has pink undertones, but then also has like, you know, a gold shimmer. And so when you start going down the rabbit hole of wow, you see really beautiful just colors. It's like seeing different paints. Or, you know, as a kid, you have like the the primary colors, colored pencils, and then you have the 60 pack. And then you have the 100 pack. And you're like I want the 100 Maybe, maybe you don't but I did I want the 100 pack. I want all of the different colors and hues to write or draw with different and do different things. And so, yeah, I have a lot of eggs. I have like a little cart with inks. And then I have some of them on display as well. I tend to lean towards things with shimmer inks with that are purple pinks and light blues. Mm hmm. I really love a good pink I think I have like five or six different shades of pink. Which, you know, for me, I'm like, oh, but this is a little bit more orangey or this has like gold glitter or this is you know, more of like a mov and they also have names to them.
Hailey 53:15 So sometimes it's again, the story behind an ink that you're gravitating towards. You use it you're thinking of it. Um, I have a ink that is called pumpkin cake. Ooh has a little pumpkin cake drawing on it. That's so cute. It's from Monteverde. And when I haven't, and one of my pens because it's Halloween season was festive to me. It's like a dark brown with an orangey undertone and I love it, but I what I love it as much if it wasn't called pumpkin cake and didn't have this story. I'm not sure like, I love it, like how it looks. I really love the color. But the story adds so much for me and I've talked to other people who collect like fountain pens and they there's people who have extraordinary ink collections. And I think that tends to be a reoccurring theme is that when there's this kind of story behind it. It makes it a little bit more intriguing to us and more enjoyable.
Leah Jones 54:19 What are so you said that was it was Mont Alban Munsell Monteverde. Monteverde? Yeah. What are some other ink brands that you do you have particular brands that you really like? Or, or is it more like, Ooh, that's a new pink shimmer. And you don't care who the brand is, but you need the color.
Hailey 54:45 So, I have a few ink brands they so sailor is one of them. They have these really beautiful in clients and they have a lot of inks that are called Chroma shaders, which means they showcase more than One color. So it'll be purple, pink, and then maybe like a kind of blue hue to it. So depending on the paper you use, you can see all of those properties of the income through, which is really beautiful. I also use some fountain pens to paint, like why you do watercolor painting. And so what is really fun is to use fountain pen ink, especially when they have these different properties. Yeah, I wouldn't quite get unless I was just way more masterful at like, you know, mixing my colors. Yeah.
Hailey 55:34 But so Sailor is, I believe, based in Japan. And then there are two. There is Tono and Lims, which is a little bit difficult to buy in the US. They are only distributed through this site called sugary inks. And they are made in Korea, the inks. And then color verse, which is a super fun brands. They are made in South Korea. And majority of their main lions are actually inspired by constellations or planets, they have a whole space theme. And so all of the names that they use are taken from space. And they recently partnered with a distributor, I think luxury brands still who's based in the US and they decided to do a UA a USA 50 states line. And so they came out with these little bottles where they're doing you know, like from Cali is like this, like very beautiful light lavender color. Or they did CHi Town. Yeah, they actually named that Chi Town instead of Chicago, right, which I love. And it's based off of kind of like the, the bean and the starry night and so has this. It's like a purple ish black with like silver glitter. So it kind of mimics a night sky. Yeah,
Leah Jones 57:03 reflecting in the Bean. That is amazing. That's so cool.
Hailey 57:08 It's really fun when you kind of get into those aspects. So those are, I would say my top three favorite brands, especially because they will do kind of more glittery for chroma shading inks. There are some brands that do like a glitter ink. But glitter isn't fine enough, it'll get clogged and stasher. A I've never ever had an issue with any of these inks performing well in my patents. So I would say that they're my favorite for that reason, too.
Leah Jones 57:43 Do you have a pen? That's when I've talked to people that are super into bands, they have these chaser songs, these songs that they want to hear live? Do you have a fountain pen that like a list of pens that you really would either want to like get to try at a convention? Or that are goals to own someday?
Hailey 58:08 Yeah, so I think like in any collecting, there's like those grills, right that people really either want that or it's too expensive. And so maybe just to handle. For me, one of my grills I would just love to see in person is a mop block, inspired by Catherine the Great from Russia. And it is this really beautiful gold pen that has like these, like really ornate designs that have and it has like a kind of Burgundy undertones. And it's it's just really it's kind of obnoxious. It's designed, it's really really ornate, but it's really beautiful. So that's a pen that would be really cool to own but it's it's literally like maybe almost $4,000 That's like a lot like i i Do I have expensive pens, I will say that. But to spend that much money feels like I'm not there yet. Yeah, I don't know if I will ever be there. Right. Um, if I could see what in person and hold it that would be really cool. Or there are there's a pen brand that a lot of people in the community really like it is a more expensive, and it's called nicaya. And they have oftentimes a certain kind of lacquer called Arushi which is handmade and in order to, I believe make or to have Arushi on your pen. It's like a very painstaking process. It's all done by hand and it's a true talent and skill to do it and it's not a lot of people have that skill and it's it's oftentimes based in think Nikaya is based in I think Japan And so that's something where it's like the patent is also a piece of art. And I heard that they write really well, I've never handled one. And so that's it's something where I would love to know how it writes because they are really pretty. And maybe one day, I could own one. But with something like that, at that price point, I personally would only buy it if I've ever handled one before, right? There's kind of pens where I'm like, Oh, I am intrigued. Maybe I could get one. But I want to know what that feels like in my hand before I invest money. That's a little bit more significant. So I would say that those are my two pens that inukai is even a grail for me. I'm just so curious. Because yeah, love it, or even the texture of Arushi like I, I've heard about, but I have never experienced myself. So yeah,
Leah Jones 1:00:55 yeah, that makes sense to me that you would want to be able to hold one and see, is it too heavy? Is it too scratchy on your skin? To be like a nice writing experience? Because you don't want to? I'm sure there are collectors who buy them for display, and aren't also right, you know, using it in their day to day, but if you're if you're going to use pens in your day to day you want pens that fit in your life.
Hailey 1:01:25 Yeah, and, you know, do you like plastic? Do you like, you know, maybe silver? Or like, do you like copper Do you like, right? Like, there's all these materials that pens are made with or cellulose or resin. So it, it really is fun to try things out. In that sense. You're like, Oh, I really like how this feels in my hand. And the cool aspect of writing with fountain pens, it's such a sensory experience experience with like, the touch, and then how it how it writes and how that feels. So
Leah Jones 1:01:57 yeah. Wow. Um, is there anything about fountain pen? I mean, there's a lot, but is there anything that fountain pens, I haven't asked you about? That if we hung up, you would be so sad.
Hailey 1:02:11 Um, so I think one of the things is just kind of where to start. You know, if you're interested in getting into foam pens, I think if you try to take everything in, it can be a little overwhelming. And maybe if you see pens that are a little bit more expensive and like is this butter, should I start higher price I definitely recommend for beginning to try some of the like lower priced pens. Especially if you can't go to a shop that is selling fountain pens, there's a couple of shops around the United States that do that do focus on fountain pens, there's the Fountain Pen Hospital in New York City, Atlas in Chicago, Vanness Pens in Arkansas, you have SECA in New York.
Hailey 1:03:02 So there's a few but if you're kind of like in a place where you can't ride my I think KAWACO sports are pocket pens, so they are a little bit smaller. And those are really fun. Let Lommy is a brands that also has like a Lommy. Safari I think is like maybe $20. And they have different like nib variation. So fine, medium broad. So you can try those out without you know breaking the bank. And with those, you can also switch out ink. So if you wanted to try out different things, you can also do that. There's really cool websites like Google a pens or Vanasse that offer ink samples, because maybe you're like I don't want to spend $15 or $20 on a 50 milliliter bottle of ink really like that's a lot of ink. You can get little samples for like two or $3 of all of these different colors. And then you can see, Oh, I like how this looks. I don't like how that actually looks in person. So I would just recommend starting small and then figuring out what feels good to you and your hands and and don't be afraid to explore. Yeah, yeah, that's kind of where I would say for like beginners who are wanting to jump in.
Leah Jones 1:04:18 I have to say that the pilot decimo that you talked about is one that I'm like, Ooh, maybe that's what I should try.
Hailey 1:04:26 Yes, it is. Also just like such a good patents. Yeah, like a workhorse to like I use it pretty consistently through like work. And I love that it's clickable. So it's just like it's, you know, pull it out quick to use. And for the price point it's on the like medium side, depending on where you're at and you're collecting. It's not horribly priced and for what you're getting like a 14 karat gold nib oftentimes when being put in a pen, jacks up the price A ton. But with that pen, you can actually get it for really like a reasonable I think it's like 150. Yep, for for that for again, what you're getting is just like way better than like the actual cost of it.
Leah Jones 1:05:15 Yeah, I'm on Goulet Pen right now looking at it. Yeah,
Hailey 1:05:20 they have cute colors.
Leah Jones 1:05:22 Yeah, I mean, I think part of it for me is I was obsessed in high school and college and into my 20s with the Pilot Pen that was that you could see that
Hailey 1:05:37 was a demonstrator like you could see through it,
Leah Jones 1:05:39 you could see it. And it was just like, really inky, in a like, really delightful way. And if you could, if you could use one, like, use all the ink in it, it felt like very responsible. Yeah, it was like using all the chapstick. Now. So pilot, for me is is a brand that I have loved my whole life. So that's I also I think, why the pilot decimo seems like well, this is a this is a pen brand that I've always trusted and enjoy using. So
Hailey 1:06:11 I love that you should check out Atlas where you can try them out in person because they have the decimos a thinner version of the Pilot Vanishing Point. Okay, the vanishing point is a little bit thicker. So again, depending on what you what writing experience you'd like, and what kinda girth of a pen. Yeah, I would say that that's a place since you're based in Chicago, you could check out and then they're really great. The people there. It's family owned. They've owned it for many, many decades. And they're just so sweet. And they'll let you take out even the most expensive pen and try it out at their store. They're not those people who are like, Oh, no, you can try it out. They're like, Oh, yes, Here, try it out. Without any expectation to for you to buy it like then i i hate going into places where like, I just want to see it because I can't afford it.
Leah Jones 1:07:04 Right. Right. Now you do you did mention, even before we hit record that you recently started a new YouTube channel. Yeah,
Hailey 1:07:17 I got into comics. I am a huge, I think I collect lots of different things, fountain pens, I think that kind of revolve around the same aspect of like reading and papers, materials and whatnot. And in the last year and a half, I got really into comics and come out doing and what I love about any collecting or hobby is that there's oftentimes a community around in, and I didn't have any friends who were into comics, really, on this journey by myself and I was really craving community. And so I was watching a lot of YouTube videos of people talking about comics, and I was like fangirling a little bit like, on it, it would be so cool to talk to that person. So I started an Instagram. And then I started a YouTube. And I have to say the comic community is the nicest group of humans like I've experienced nothing but such warm friendship from tons of people and such support in a very, like short amount of time. I think I started the YouTube channel A month ago, okay, and I've been on four different YouTube channels with other people just wanting to support me and get to know me and just chat about comics. So
Leah Jones 1:08:45 what are your the main storylines or genres or characters that you are collecting?
Hailey 1:08:54 So I read Jonathan Hickman ins House of X, Power of X, which is an X Men storyline and I knew nothing about X Men. And I read it and it was it just packed it has so much depth to it really goes into, you know, people who are feeling oppressed, like how do you rise up? Like, what are those different pathways? What does it like look like to fight back to try to create space for yourself when I want to make that space? It dives into like, who is God? What is God? Wow, like, there's just a lot of threads it deals with like moral responsibility and ethics with technology and the pursuit of like technological advances in AI. And I'm like reading it. I'm like, this is like X Men. And then here are these really powerful panels and writing he's just a fantastic writer. I was really blown away. I was my, my a friend of mine had read it, and we were talking about it. And I was just having these really deep conversations about it. And it kind of sparked this curiosity and Axman and so kind of down that rabbit hole currently. And really, I'm reading a lot of just like Marvel and certain indie titles. Horror horror is having a huge moment in comics right now. Which is perfect for the spooky season. Yes.
Hailey 1:10:35 So, one that I picked up, I have not read, but I've heard nothing but good things. I think it's just so fun to plug is called Stray Dogs. And it's a horror comic. We all have these cute little puppy dogs. And supposedly it's both cute and equally scary. Okay. It's like, beloved by it's like huge sensation. And what's funny to me is like I saw and it almost looks like a kid's comic, but it's not. And then you just have all these like, men who are like, you know, just not who you see pic thing picking up that comic? Like, I love stray dogs and like the covers are really cool for the single issues. They did famous horror films, but with like a dog as they had like a Silence of the Lamb. Uh huh. Cover but like this, like little cute puppy with the like little butterfly?
Leah Jones 1:11:30 Yeah. Oh my gosh.
Hailey 1:11:32 Um, so that was a really like, I picked it up. I'm planning on reading it that this month, but I've it's been reviewed tremendously. And I feel like the premise of it is just so wild. Yeah.
Leah Jones 1:11:52 Do you have a local comic shop that you go to?
Hailey 1:11:56 So I love Alley Cat comics, and Andersonville. They have like you walk through a little alleyway. Yeah. It's like a speakeasy situation you walk by through this alley behind these buildings. And then there's this awesome comic shop. And Dark Tower comics in Chicago as well has like these beautiful murals of superheroes. And I just remember passing by it when I was a little kid and just being in awe of it. I only went in and now occasionally shop.
Leah Jones 1:12:32 They're nice. And where can people find you on YouTube?
Hailey 1:12:38 Yeah, so my youtube name is @ChiComicGirl . And you can find me there. And also the Instagram is also @Chi_Comic_ girl. Yeah. On Instagram.
Leah Jones 1:12:53 Great. Is there anything else you would like to promote?
Hailey 1:12:58 Oh, no, I think you can find me there. I will say if you're really into fountain pens, I don't post as often but me having the little outlets that I have. I have an Instagram called a femoral lines. And it's just beautiful pictures of my fountain
Leah Jones 1:13:23 just ephemeral line. So do we get to see your ink or just your fountain pens,
Hailey 1:13:28 you get to see ink and fountain pen, okay. And if you go to like people I'm following you will find equally just so much like more accounts of people just posting fountain pens and their journal setups and their planner setups and there's a lot of really fun. You know, the internet is a wonderful place sometimes. Yeah. What anything,
Leah Jones 1:13:49 I have occasionally considered doing a bullet journal. And so I I've never committed to it, but I'm familiar with like, that little corner of the Instagram people setting up their bullet journals and in their monthly designs and and I have a couple other friends who are super into fountain pen. So I've had it's come through my feeds before but I'm gonna I'm gonna link to everything that we talked about in the show notes so that people can go down the rabbit hole with you.
Hailey 1:14:22 i If I just enable one person do this. I will feel like this is a success. No, just kidding. It's a great conversation. But I am just here to turn everyone into fountain pen lovers.
Leah Jones 1:14:37 Wonderful. Well, thank you so much, Hailey. You can follow me on Twitter. I'm @ChicagoLeah @chileah on Instagram. The podcast is finding at finding faves pod on Twitter and Instagram. And please follow and subscribe. Leave a review on Apple podcasts because all the other podcasts Say it matters so it must matter. So thank you so much, Hailey. This has been wonderful. Thank you.
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