rituals: galen leather the old school molded pen case for five pens
The arrival of fall is marked by raindrops on the windows and yellow leaves on the streets. It’s a beautiful sight. Those weathered brown brick houses, trees caught in-between with both green and yellow leaves, rain giving everything a slick shine. Sometimes the sun will show its face through the dark clouds overhead and paint everything in an etherial gold. In the house, the smell of ginger and cinnamon hangs, mingling with stale coffee. Remnants of a long, dragged out breakfast on the couch, bundled up under blankets. Cold weather is the only way to really enjoy that hot mug of coffee in the morning.
Starting new things is hard. Hard, even when you’ve started a million new things. Even harder, when you’re young and don’t have the life experience age brings. In the end, you try to hold on, continue trying as long as you can. While failing constantly at one aspect of your life is difficult, I try to establish rituals to support myself. Is it always successful? It doesn’t need to be. Even if a small part of your life makes you smile, that will get you through the day.
The most important thing for me is my writing ritual. It doesn’t matter what I’m writing, because they all start the same way; at the end of the previous writing session. I tidy up my desk. Gather all the notebooks and pens together, stack them carefully so that nothing is just laying around. So that when I get t work the next day, I walk up to a clean desk that I can easily organise myself upon. Tidying up also helps me to get out of the working headspace to a more relaxed one.
If I’m going out to work, I’ll take everything with me into my backpack and start the ritual there, when I sit down. Otherwise, I’ll hover around my desk at home for a while before starting work. Pulling out notebooks, books to reference if I need them, other notes to reference, open up my computer, arrange my papers, bring out my pen case.
Lately, my pen case became one of the most important parts of this ritual. It’s a Galen Leather Old School leather moulded pen case for five pens. It has a lovely purple smooth leather with tan stitching that contrasts nicely. My favourite part is the brass closure. It’s strong, heavy and works with a satisfying click.
The flap slides off nicely to expose the pens underneath, snuggled in their undyed leather tray. What a beautiful sight to start your working day with. I like to slide out the pen tray out and set it on the table so that I can access all of my pens easily. It requires a little more attention when you’re trying to pull the pens out of the tray in the pen case. I do that too sometimes, but mostly only when I know I’ll be using one pen. My only concern about this setup is that the tray’s bottom part is not closed like I’ve seen their Magnum Opus cases to be, so you need to be careful about pulling everything out. Pens will slide back into the pen case while you’re trying to set them free.
Before starting to work, I’ll generally get a warm mug of tea or coffee and set it as far as I can from my pens & notebook. You learn some things the hard way.
I’ll generally use three or four pens at a time and have a few sentimental pens that I like to keep inked up at all times. A five-pen case is a good size for me. It’s still small enough to fit into any bag without adding too much weight while holding all of my work-horse pens together. I don’t like the term work-horse a lot, because for me to buy a pen, it has to be comfortable to use for any task. Perhaps “ultimate-pens” is better, as they are the ultimate something. The most comfortable ones to hold for a long time, the best-feeling nibs, high ink capacity and that they wouldn’t attract too much attention in a library or a cafe. They’re all around the same size with little difference between width and section length. I do have a type among my ultimate pens rather than ones I like for novelty or different things. Classics from well-regarded manufacturers, pens built to last, so much so that I don’t have to be too precious with them. That and my trust in this case. Seriously. This is a tough case.
This pen case means business and you can see it from the first moment you set your eyes on it. Tough leather, like good working boots or that one leather jacket I have that would survive the apocalypse even when I wouldn’t. I’ve thrown it in a backpack, a handbag, even a canvas tote. It took a tumble with laptops and notebooks. Even then, it only has very few scratches on the back. I’ve owned it for a few months and carried it everywhere, everyday. By everywhere, I mean on public transport, school, libraries, cafes, museums, between cities. I put off writing about this case because it shows no signs of that use. I could’ve easily told you that I bought this case yesterday (at least from the front, the back does have those few scratches). Not a hair out of place. It’s wild.
The leather is still wonderfully shiny, the new leather smell dissipating a slight bit now. The rugged brass clasp did get shinier, especially around the edges, from being handled often. Every aspect is very well crafted. I don’t say that lightly as I’ve had my fair share of so-called “well-crafted” leather goods that did not turn out that way. Leather is generally my first choice as a material in accessories as it is a much sustainable alternative to vegan leather and polyester-based product, both are essentially plastics. Real leather is a by-product of the meat industry -which is problematic- but I fully believe that is an animal is slaughtered, the most respectful thing to do is using all of the products it supplies us with. Good quality leather can be expensive, especially it is treated with non-toxic or natural methods. In the end, though, you get a product that will last you more than a lifetime. In the meantime, you’re also supporting small businesses: Galen Leather and Vav Leather, the actual artisan of these moulded pen cases. It’s a win-win situation no matter how you look at it.
After a writing session, there is the tidying up once again. The pen case and a notebook might make its way to my bag afterwards as I just like to carry them around even if I’m meeting up with friends for a coffee. It’s sort of like a charm, a wonderful little secret, that I’m carrying my favourite pens with me. If I’m going out to work the next day, I’ll check my pens the night before to make sure all of them have a satisfactory ink level and I might switch some pens out if I feel like another one is more suitable to the job.
The sound of that brass closure and the act of pulling out the tray became a ritual for me, a mental preparation to tackle the task(s) at hand. It is so satisfying to use an extremely well-crafted product. I cannot stop using that word because this pen case is well-crafted. I guess it’s another one of those times I’m at loss for words. There is no false advertisement, no misleading. This is a simple, solid case without unnecessary extras. One job, done extremely well.
As a side note, I want to mention how much of an absolute delight it is to open Galen Leather’s packages. First, the hand written letter, then the cologne infused wipes, the Turkish coffee, the tea… But seeing the postcard almost brought a tear in my eye. At the time I got this package, I needed to hear the little quote they wrote and be reminded of some memories of sailing.
Thank you for reading!
Disclaimer: I got this pen case from Galen Leather in exchange of an honest review.