RD: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Marisa: I am currently employed as a therapist and grant project director at a community mental health center in Memphis, TN. I work with homeless veterans and other chronically homeless individuals who experience serious mental illness and/or substance use disorders both in my office setting and in the community. I am also a passionate writer, reader, and bookbinder. I maintain a blog called The Unwritten Word in which I write about all the elements I see as being part of my creative journey, from general musings on life to writing prompts to ink, paper, and pen reviews. I use Rhodia paper exclusively for all my ink reviews.
RD: How and when did you first discover Rhodia products?
Marisa: I first discovered Rhodia products right after graduating college when I was working as a bookseller at a large independent bookstore. I remember noticing the orange covers and the simple stapled binding of the pads sitting next to some incredibly ornate writing products on display. I was drawn to them because I value simplicity and function, but when I opened one of the notepads and examined the paper, I was shocked at the obvious quality. Once I rediscovered fountain pens as a primary writing tool and experienced Rhodia’s superior quality in action with them, I was hooked for life.
RD: Does using Rhodia products in any way make your job easier? (Do quality tools make the job easier?)
Marisa: Quality tools make any job easier, and additionally allow us to enjoy the work we do. At work in my day job, I take a lot of notes. I sometimes scribble things down on a sticky note with a scratchy ballpoint, and though I can read the note back just fine that way, it is a forgettable experience. However, when I have one of my little Rhodia pads at my desk and a fountain pen in hand, I scribble the same note with the same speed, but the experience itself is more pleasurable. Also, I find the more I make my writing experience pleasant, the more likely I am to remember the information I’m writing. When attending trainings, etc. I always take my notes on quality paper with a fountain pen, and I’ve found it significantly more effective in helping me retain material. When it comes to writing fiction or upcoming blog posts, it offers motivation. I enjoy the act of writing, and having quality tools at my disposal can sometimes be just enough to make me want to sit down and be productive. I may not feel like untangling a stubborn plot problem, but I may feel like grabbing my new Webnotebook and a favorite pen just for the experience of the writing itself. If I’m writing anyway, might as well write something useful, and I end up getting myself back to work rather than procrastinating.
RD: Which are your favorite Rhodia products?
Marisa: I am a big fan of the Rhodia #18 graph pads and the #16 dot pads. I use the graph pads for ink reviews for my blog and for testing pens and inks. I frequently use the #16 and #18 pads in bookbinding as well. I am partial to the size journal yielded by the #16, and have grown fond of the dot ruling. I’ve created and filled up a number of handmade Rhodia journals with a variety of binding styles. Even though I can and do make my own books, I am a frequent purchaser of other quality journals, and adore the A5 Webnotebook. The paper is some of the best I’ve ever used bar none, and the construction is of the highest quality.
RD: Where do you regularly purchase Rhodia products?
Marisa: I have purchased from a number of Rhodia sellers both in person and online, but most frequently I stock up at Vanness Pens in Little Rock, AR. They’re my favorite brick and mortar pen store, and they always have a good supply of any Rhodia product I could ever need or want. I also watch Massdrop.com for good deals on packs of Rhodia products.
RD: Do you use them in any way that is specific to your job?
Marisa: I have used the paper in binding journals for myself and others, creating art projects, and in writing miles of fiction. In my day job, I use Rhodia products to take notes during meetings and trainings, small reminders and to-do lists, and I keep a small Rhodia pad in my purse in case I need to make a note on a client situation while in the field.
RD: Pencil, pen, or other? Favorites?
Marisa: Fountain pen all the way! My husband and I both love quality pens, and between us have amassed a respectable collection. My current favorite is my Pelikan m1000 with vintage PF M 18k nib. It’s a bit broad for my relatively small handwriting, but the nib is so springy and smooth, I just don’t care. That pen paired with Rhodia paper makes you so happy to be laying down ink, you hardly care what you’ve written at all. I also have a major soft spot for my 1940’s Sheaffer Crest with 14k Triumph nib. It was the first vintage pen I ever got, and remains one of my best writers. On average, I have also become quite a Pilot pen enthusiast. They make up a large portion of my collection.
RD: Is there any way we could improve on your favorite product?
Marisa: I honestly can’t think of a way to improve upon the products I regularly use. The A5 Webnotebook is almost the holy grail of manufactured notebooks, except it doesn’t lay quite as flat as I might like. Then again, it has a tight binding that gives a sense of security and quality, so I’m willing to compromise.
Check out a few of Marisa’s recent ink reviews: