This story appears in our February 2016 Digital Issue. The entire issue is available for download.
…Collecting pens has become a bit of a hobby—he and Emily have hunted for them at antique stores and estate sales and county fairs for years, always looking for the unique specimen, the odd invention. She’s gifted him with several. Each has a story behind it, a place, a scent, a heft, a written corpus or series of jottings. He loves them dearly.
Now he takes each in turn and lays it on the blotter for inspection. When arranged side by side they’re a study in idiosyncrasy, the fat tortoise-shell Montblanc lying next to the sleek ebony ballpoint from some long-defunct maker, the kitsch aluminum Space Pen next to the rare Mabie Todd Swan enameled with autumn leaves. He loves them like mismatched children, these pens.
EDWARD HAMLIN’S Night in Erg Chebbi and Other Stories was selected by Pulitzer Prize finalist Karen Russell as winner of the 2015 Iowa Short Fiction Award. Edward’s work has also been recognized with a Nelligan Prize, an NCW Short Story Prize, a Top of the Mountain Novel Prize, a Pushcart Prize nomination, and other honors. A New York native, Edward Hamlin spent his formative years in Chicago and now lives in Boulder, Colorado.