Rogue Ink

June 9, 2008

A Love Letter to the Men

Filed under: Writing — Tei @ 6:05 am

No, not all the men. Not even The Man, who I think we can all agree should be shunned at every possible opportunity, and possibly spat upon when you are weary of sticking it to him. You know the men I am talking about. The Men. The Pen Men. The Men with Pens.

I completed the web copy on Friday night, by the way. Thanks for coming around and rooting for that one. The reason you didn’t see a blog post on Friday night (or Saturday night, comes to that) was that I was busy falling in love with the Men. I know. No one saw it coming. Least of all me. Big sigh.

This ain’t just any kind of love, people. This isn’t that link love variety. This is pure and unabashed adoration, and I am going to tell you why, and if you get all squeamish about the unabashedness, you should turn your head, because these Men need some serious fawning, and I am just the rogue to give it to them.

They’re fantastic to do business with.

To begin with, to speak to one is more or less to speak to the other. This is a noteworthy phenomenon simply because one’s in Quebec and one’s in Vegas, and yet you would swear they share an office and throw wads of paper at each other all day. Paper, by the way, they would purchase for the specific purpose of wadding, as hardly anyone writes on a typewriter anymore. They read minds, people. Their own and yours. I was just having a conversation with them in which they creeped themselves out with their psychic abilities. Psychics only creep themselves out with their psychicness when they are really, really psychic. You can quote me on that.

Once you have spoken to them, a magical thing happens, if I may be stereotypical for a moment and remind you that we are discussing Men. Even with Pens. They listen.

I know that they listen, because you would not believe how random I am when I try to describe things that I need for myself. No, yes you would, you read this blog. I am very random, people. I will start talking about strange animals and foods and sensations, such as, “You know that feeling you get when you’re watching a sunset with someone and it’s romantic and perfect and then your cell phone rings and you have to sneeze but can’t? THAT’S how I felt.”

They were capable of understanding the random that is my head, and this is no small feat. James summed up what I was looking for thusly, and I am quoting: “So we’re aiming for cutting edge, rough around the edges but still highly professional and with a cookie?”

Yes, that is correct. With a cookie. You see what I put them through? Harry must have understood it perfectly too, because he came up with this little piece of the power and the glory. They didn’t even get mad when I became the Lousy Boss. And when I became a wuss, they very firmly and gently told me to stop it. Which I did.

They do good work, they do it fast, they do it affordable, and that banner still makes me weak in the knees. Come to think of it, the inevitable swooning over the Men probably began right there.

No. It was before that. I know when it was.

They love their people.

Yes, they have people. If you don’t believe me, wander on over to their blog and browse about in the archives. The same folks show up to talk again and again, to trade advice, to shoot the breeze. It’s a small city on a hill, or a website if you just can’t strain the metaphor, and the proud and benevolent co-rulers are our favorite Men. They are wise, they are just, and they are free and unstinting with the riches of the kingdom.

If you are the Men, and you are as talented as they are, you do not really need to spend time rubbing elbows with the commonfolk. For one thing, it’s awkward. And yet, there they are, elbows akimbo, ripe for the rubbing. People pay good money for the kind of advice they throw about regularly. They call it consulting.

When the Men give advice daily, for free, with all the goodwill in the world, it is called ‘being awesome.’

They want their people happy and prosperous.

They are one of the major reasons my blogging continued at all, past that initial beginning phase where no one reads you and you kind of feel that you’re tapping away in some sort of social experiment meant to achieve a state of complete loneliness and ennui where none existed before. Not because your flesh-and-blood friends have disappeared or anything; they may, in fact, be in the same room with you plaintively trying to drag your attention back to them, the half-empty box of pizza, and the beer you have abandoned to check your stats for the eight millionth time.

They came around. They commented. They poked playfully at my newbieness. They linked to me, for the love of all that is caramel-coated. They were wonderful. I suspect that their wonderfulness is a secret ploy to get more readers, and I am here to tell you it works way better than the snarkiness I personally employ. I became one of the denizens of the Pen City, and they came around to the Lusty Weevil to have a pint now and then, when they didn’t feel like wearing their crowns. And James developed a small migraine at the lack of a subscribe to comments button on this blog, but that is only to be expected. He is a little odd. It’s because he’s from upstairs in Canoodia.

They basically did everything in their power to hustle me on my own way to a successful blog and a successful business, and neither of those things were necessary, but they are deeply valuable and I was touched to have received them. Those encouragements are half the reason I’m writing this post today. That’s just the Men for you.

The other half of the reason I’m writing this post, in case you’re curious, is that it’s a perfect opportunity to out some of their weirdnesses under the guise of flattery. I am crafty like that. Come along. Next section.

They are, on an individual level, amazing men. Without the capitals. Just a man and a man. Separately. You see what I mean. No, you don’t, do you. Damn it.

Gods, that’s too complicated to keep up with. I shall just make a list for each, and it will all become clear.

Amazing Things About James

  • He knits. This makes me happy for many reasons, not the least of which are the many ways I can think of to mock him about it.
  • He can curse in French, and does so frequently. I am learning a whole new realm of profanity I had not imagined possible. He can also speak French, like a normal multilingual person, but I am way more intrigued by the cursing. I can’t imagine why.
  • He is REALLY into flying.
  • Also chaos. He can’t stop conceiving of new and interesting ways to make one thing bounce off another. He is completely fascinated by it. I have decided he is secretly Puck, sent by Oberon to spy on us humanfolk. I’m ON to you, Faerie King.
  • He will staunchly defend the strangest of food combinations, and then look at me askance when I mention perfectly normal foods like chocolate caramels and ketchup (no, not together. Separately. For all I know, he’d like them together. He’s that kind of crazy). He is also the only Canadian I have ever heard of who doesn’t like maple syrup. Next, I’ll meet a New Englander who doesn’t like fiddleheads. And that will be a dark day indeed.
  • He is a damned fine writer. He is going to get a big head if I keep telling him that, but it’s very true.
  • He’s brave as they come, and he’ll push and push and push until you get brave too. Leader of free men and women, is James. He ought to run Sherwood. He’d get everyone out from under the Sheriff and into the trees in no time.

Amazing things about Harry

  • He knows the joy that is a Honda vehicle, and that owning one inspires the sort of unsurpassèd love that requires an accent mark over the ‘e’. James says that’s an accent grave. Harry says whatever, the bike deserves an accent ecstatic. And Harry? Billy and I agree with you.
  • He loves the lolcats and America’s Next Top Model, and so do I. I choose to keep my love for these things secret, however, and I sincerely hope Harry had no intention of doing so. Because, um. Oops.
  • He will patiently walk anyone through anything, and he will never reveal his slowly growing belief that your stupidity is not to be fathomed. No one else would walk me through widget installation. NO ONE. For they know the stupidity is IMMENSE. And it was. But he stuck it out.
  • He, too, is a damned fine writer. He won’t get a swelled head though. He will just smile quietly about it. And brag to James.
  • He has a motorcycle in his office, a cat under his desk, and a barbeque in his kitchen. I am envious on all three counts.
  • He is a Sagittarius. And SO AM I. We have many times now (and by ‘many’ I mean ‘three’ but that is a LOT when you communicate wholly over the internets) conspired to conquer the world with flaming arrows and swords. You are officially warned.
  • He’s the behind the scenes guy. I have been this guy, and I am here to tell you that while the work is about equal to the front man’s, the behind the scenes guy never gets applauded. And Harry takes this fact in stride, but this is not just, people. I applaud you, Harry. Until my little hands are chapped, they go clappy clap clap for you.

And finally

Just when I thought they couldn’t get any more awesome, they went and invented a fiction-based roleplaying game. And then they let me play. Which was the point at which I gave in. I looked deep within my rusty little heart, people, and there I discovered that the Men have stolen the key to it, and weaseled their way in.

And that, denizens of the Lusty Weevil, is what I have been doing all weekend. Falling head over heels for the Men. If you can resist them, you are a better man than I.

But not a better Men. There are no better Men.

Subscribe. I’m pretty cool too. I talk about that on most other days.


  1. Yeah, but…did you like them?

    You’re being a little vague Tei. 😉

    Comment by Karen JL — June 9, 2008 @ 8:30 am | Reply

  2. Yay! You’re back! Soooooo… does this mean we get to see the Good Ink site soon? Doesitdoesitdoesit??? *bounces around like 5 year-old with suspicions that something awesome might be about to happen soon*

    @ Karen LJ – heh heh heh!

    Comment by Sunili — June 9, 2008 @ 9:54 am | Reply

  3. There’s nothing wrong with a little fawning over two fantastic Men like Harry MacLeod and the Good King James Chartrand.

    P.S. Am I the only one who says “of the clan MacLeod” after typing Harry’s name? 🙂

    Comment by Jamie Grove - How Not To Write — June 9, 2008 @ 11:16 am | Reply

  4. That banner design is indeed great – went from being a name to being a person. That’s completely awesome. I’m glad to call James and Harry friends. 🙂

    Comment by Michael Martine — June 9, 2008 @ 11:22 am | Reply

  5. Tei,

    Get me a towel. I’m covered in goop. 😉

    Glad you finished. It had to have been hard, considering how busy you are being a full-time RPGer… I mean writer… I mean what do you do? Better get that site up. Tei’s Drooling Acolyte Site, right?

    New home of MCE is almost done, too. New homes are cool. Good luck with yours!



    Comment by Kelly — June 9, 2008 @ 11:28 am | Reply

  6. All right, how much did they pay you, and can I get the same rate? 🙂

    It’s good to hear all of that, Tei. We like the Men because of their blog writing and because of their game, but it’s nice to know they don’t do half bad when it comes to business, too.

    Comment by Bob Younce at the Writing Journey — June 9, 2008 @ 11:33 am | Reply

  7. “and he will never reveal his slowly growing belief that your stupidity is not to be fathomed.”

    Favourite line of the whole blog. Nicely said. It is good to see someone truly appreciate the efforts of those who go beyone what is necessary to help a quasi-newb familiarize themselves on a new venture. Good on you for posting this, and good on the Men for being..well, from the sounds of it…slightly insane, personable and er..chaotic. We need more positive chaos.

    Comment by Isle — June 9, 2008 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

  8. …and they let ME play too!

    And while I’m sure you left out as many amazing things as you included, cheers to the Men AND their mighty Pens…and a world just a schmidge more chaotic.

    Comment by JamieG — June 9, 2008 @ 4:02 pm | Reply

  9. You made me snort diet coke out my nose again! And thank you for sharing your love of the Men. They are indeed the awesome.

    Comment by Sandie — June 10, 2008 @ 12:56 am | Reply

  10. And we like all of you too. This post gave me a serious case of the warm fuzzies that still hasn’t gone away.

    Comment by Harrison McLeod — June 10, 2008 @ 6:05 am | Reply

  11. I’ve printed it and taped it to my wall. After getting choked up and almost needing Kleenex.

    Funniness aside, Tei, thank you. This means a lot to me and I feel really good knowing that what we believe in shines through in everything we do.

    Comment by James Chartrand - Men with Pens — June 10, 2008 @ 11:55 am | Reply

  12. Yay! You’re back. But wait? Where is the website? You know you want to send me one of those http://www.tei‘ links so I can see what no one else can!

    Comment by MonstersMama — June 10, 2008 @ 4:39 pm | Reply

  13. Ah, this is a love I understand. The Pen Men and their merry band of Pen People. I so have a professional crush on them both and can tell you from personal experience they’re not only great professionals but darn good people. Swooning with you….

    Comment by Karen Swim — June 13, 2008 @ 11:27 pm | Reply

  14. […] Guess what? The sky didn’t fall. Lightening didn’t strike us dead. Our feed subscriber numbers stayed stable (and even grew). Our traffic didn’t shrivel up and die. We didn’t lose any friends, we gained some new ones and we even got love in a big way. […]

    Pingback by Welcome Home, Boys | Men With Pens — June 16, 2008 @ 9:01 am | Reply

  15. Aah the Pen Men,

    I can see why you so unabashedly love them so much. Your love letter gave even me the fuzzies because I saw what you are trying to do here. You want to snatch the Pen Men away from us all and keep them all to your rusty heart. Naughty girls. I’m onto you you hear!

    My humble self has also been fortunate enough to do business with the Pen Men on several occasions in fact. Over virtual cups of tea, beer and discussing James’s absolute LOVE for flying, Harry has also done some magic work for me. Plus, like Michael, I’m proud to say they are my friends.

    Hip hip hurray to the men with those able pens.

    Comment by Monika Mundell — June 17, 2008 @ 9:42 am | Reply

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