I write with fountain pens. Full disclosure. I don’t write every single thing ever with fountain pens. However, I have two beautiful pens, both gifts, and writing with them is absolutely delightful. More disclosure. I love office supplies. Wandering up and down the aisles of Staples, Office Depot, or even the office supplies aisle of CVS is fun for me. The pens, the pencils, and the paper!
During the year that I lived in Spain as a as an exchange student, I first discovered fountain pens for everyday use. I’ll admit that this was in the olden timey-times of 1990. Though young people used fountain pens on a daily basis, I don’t mean to imply that young people never used ball point pens in Spain, because of course they use lots of types of modern technology, including ball point technology. (It’s all ball bearings these days.) Things that in the United States would would be considered a specialty were common there. Nostalgia for seemingly old-fashioned writing tools surprised me.
They had disposable fountain pens. Unheard of! I did not have spending money falling out of my pockets but disposable fountain pens were within the reasonable price range for a poor student like myself. With this first foray into writing with a fountain pen I began to understand the joy of writing, spreading the ink by running the nib of the fountain pen across the paper. I already loved writing letters (even kinda weird back then), but this was a totally different type of writing experience. It felt a little bit more like art.
Now an adult with two fountain pens, I get to refill them with different colors of bottled ink. Any color my heart desires! (If they make that color as an ink!) Initially, I did not know what I was doing with a nice fountain pen. The disposable ones ran out of ink and ran out of purpose. I tossed them. But with my first nice pen, a Waterman, I learned how to use disposable ink cartridges. You purchased a twelve-pack of cartridges, and when the ink no longer flowed, I knew the cartridge was empty. I replaced the old one with a new one and carried on. This went on for years.
Initially, I did not know what I was doing with a nice fountain pen.
Then my second fountain pen, from Levenger, did not use cartridges. Yet another level up in the ranking of fountain pens. It came instead with a converter. I’d need to start re-filling the cartridge from bottles of ink. You put your pen nib into the bottle, and twist the converter’s plunger up, drawing ink from the bottle into the converter. This is where my fingers began to get inky. Every time I pick up a fountain pen I come away with ink all over my hands. Just unscrewing the lid can be tricky. Refilling the pen is another matter altogether. The ink bottle is ready to coat you, your clothing, and your furniture in some beautiful but staining color. I use great care unscrewing the ink bottle. But no matter how messy, I like it! It’s fun and creative and artistic and feels more special than regular pens. Yes, you do run the risk of the lid coming off the pen and permanently staining your entire purse liner with the inky contents of your pen. But that is no reason not to use it.
Every time I pick up a fountain pen I come away with ink all over my hands.
Using the fountain pen is a small act. But one that I cherish. It brings me great pleasure as the fountain pen nib glides across a thick piece of paper while I write my birthday or thank you messages to a friend. Even if I’m just jotting down some notes for myself to remember, or an outline for ideas of my book. Getting my fingers inky is a small price to pay for how much I enjoy using fountain pens.
Wanna nerd it up with fountain pens? Follow @GouletPens on Twitter. And let me know what other cool fountain pen sites and links to follow. Happy writing!