On The Serious Matter Of Pens

I write. Badly. I don’t mean in the stylistic sense. At least I hope not. My handwriting is awful. Southpaws are legendary for this failing and I have true “doctor’s writing”, which is, I suppose, appropriate. However, you know you have a problem when you can’t read your own degenerate scrawl. My solution to this has been the fountain pen.

I don’t know why, but my writing is very much better when I use a fountain pen. A ball point always produces a spidery mess. It lacks the inflection, the emphasis, that the fountain pen nib produces as I write. That slight variation in pressure, the change in tone of the ink, the fractional variation in the width of the line. It all helps make the writing easier to understand. Could it be too that the feel of using a good pen is just something that makes you live in the moment? Savour the feeling. The is something about writing on the front face of a clean block of good paper, the give in the surface, very slight, but definitely there, the feel of the nib over the paper, rough but at the same time oily… it is a thing. I use a fountain pen every day at work. My creative writing these days is done using a Remarkable tablet, which has very nearly got the feel of writing on paper and does many useful things besides.

Alas, today, my favourite pen appears to have given up the ghost. Ink wells from every joint around the nib, my hands are covered in it, like Macbeth I can’t get the stains out. So I shall have to get another. Dilemma time. The deceased is a Cross that I was given. I loved using it so I bought another for the office and it has been perennial trouble, nowhere near as smooth to write with, despite not being a cheap model. They are also supposed to last and this one has not lasted well. So, dear reader. Recommendations. What pen should I get? I am drawn to a Waterman at the moment, despite the price, but am I just going over the top? I have to say I am influenced by the Waterman ink bottles. Someone used their brain and made a bottle where you can refill the pen without getting covered in ink and you can get it all out. Genius.

2 thoughts on “On The Serious Matter Of Pens

  1. I am more impressed by the fact that you’ve stuck with one pen for so long. Many others, such as myself, have fallen deep down the rabbit hole, with tons of ink and pens that I won’t be able to justifiably use in this lifetime, lol. Have stopped my purchases though.

    Since you’re already used to fountain pens, and you tend to stick to one at a time, may I recommend that you hop on to the next level? So:

    LAMY 2000
    Pilot Custom 74
    Platinum 3776
    Sailor 1911S or PGS
    TWSBI 580

    Can’t go wrong with any of those. Have fun and happy hunting!


    1. Stuart,

      Thanks for the suggestions, I guess an addict will know! Nothing wrong with a harmless obsession with lovely things. My pets are good shoes and expensive coffee which is not too bad in the scheme of things… pens might be next 🙂



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