Do Some Real Writing… With a Fountain PenPosted: March 20, 2012
by Dick Loftin
John Lennon used to say, “Everything’s connected.” It is certainly true for my passion for the written word. I love everything to do with the writing craft: the books, the authors, and the tools of the trade. I have a particular affection for vintage typewriters. I have several and use them to write my longer posts. I like the idea and the style of the “first draft.” I like getting a colored pencil [some use red, some prefer blue] and mark up the pages with corrections. I like “living” with a piece of writing. I love the little “burst” of an idea that comes while revising a paragraph. It’s the craft. It’s the effort. It’s the reward.
I also have a great affection for writing instruments and have recently started collecting mechanical pencils. These are usually the retro pencils found at flea markets and antique stores. I look for pencils with advertising on them or used for promotional purposes. The pencils I have generally date from the 1950′s. They are fabulous: Companies that sell brakes, television repair shops, oil companies, gas stations, banks and shipping companies. I have one that belonged to my Dad. It was a “special reward for achievement,” from the Dale Carnegie Course. Who knew my dad took Dale Carnegie? The things we learn.
If you really want to broaden your writing horizons, and experience some real writing, let me suggest you invest a little money in a nice fountain pen. I took the plunge on a vacation trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2010 and bought a proper, slightly expensive [$150.00] Marlen fountain pen. It is Italian made, has a heavy feel and a brilliant “write.” It’s not like writing with a ball point or roller ball. It takes commitment to use a fountain pen. It is not like writing with anything else. It took six months of writing before it felt “normal.” You write with a nib [the tip] which distributes the ink flow according to the pressure you put on the pen. A note here: if you buy a fountain pen, be sure to tell them you have a “light” or “heavy” hand. It matters. The pressure you put on the nib–if it’s too much–could damage it. Like I say, it’s not like writing with a Bic. There is a certain amount of joy writing with a fountain pen. The same kind of joy that comes with writing with a vintage typewriter. It’s old-fashioned. It’s historic. There is a sweetness to the scratch of the nib gliding along the paper, similar to the clacking of the typewriter and the ring of the bell. It’s romantic. It’s nice. It’s soul-settling.
While my budget is somewhat restricted, there are people who will spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on a nice fountain pen. Some of them are highly collectible and people buy them to keep them, unused. I understand. I really do.
While on Facebook today, I came across a post from Fox Business.com [posted on the Fountain Pen Hospital's Facebook page] about how some people are chucking the note-taking feature of their smart phone for a fountain pen. There are some things that need to stay with us. The practice of writing with a pen, particularly a pen you love, is an experience all its own. Maybe history is repeating itself. I hope so.
Read “Yes, People Do Spend Money on Pens!” from Fox Business.com, Here.
Here are some highly recommended websites to purchase pens and learn more about them: Fountain Pen Hospital … Fahrney’s Pens … Richards Pens … Levenger. Take some time and find a nice pen for yourself. You can spend as much as budget will allow, into the thousands for collector pens, but generally you can find a nice fountain pen for around $100 or less. A favorite pen of mine, purchased for $40.00, is the Kaweco Sport. It is a nice, compact pen that is great for making notes, shopping lists, and light writing. I like writing poems with it. It is German-made, takes cartridge ink, and comes in black or blue. A nice little pen I truly enjoy, available at Levenger.com.