Guest post: Fountain Pen Love
January 31, 2014 in Journal
A dead man, a big old dog, the Month of Letters, and an innocent-looking temptress share the responsibility for my newest love.
I didn’t participate in last year’s Month of Letters for a variety of reasons that seemed right at the time. And then Roger died. Roger’s a distant cousin from across the pond, and last year, the absolute highlight of my February was hearing from him when he got my letter, which obviously meant the world to him. So I started to feel a little bit sorry I hadn’t signed up this time around, but since he was one of the people to whom I would have written, I was a little relieved, too.
Soon after that, I went away to a writing retreat far from home. There, along with wonderful people, I found a big yellow dog who reminded me of home. All around me, people were participating in Month of Letters, and I remembered how much that letter had meant to Roger, and I got the urge to write to my girl and her dad to let them know I was thinking about them while I was away.
I didn’t come prepared for letters. The only paper I had on hand was my Moleskin notebook, the only writing utensils a handful of pencils. That’s where the temptress came in. Not only did she hand over stationery and stamps, but she let me borrow her fountain pens to write with. The moment I picked up the first of them, I was in love. I wrote two letters and developed an immediate and insatiable need to have my own pen. They were so easy to write with, my handwriting looked MUCH better than it does with any other pen, they’re pretty, and they have a sense of history and permanence to them. What’s not to love?
The very day after I arrived home found me standing in the pen shop closest to my house. It’s an alluring place filled with the scent of pipe tobacco and chock full of beautiful fountain pens and ink and notebooks and other lovely things. I bought an inexpensive but pretty pen to start with, one that’s turned out to be a great choice. I love it.
In chatting with the proprietor of the shop, I discovered that this new love of mine is no longer an obscure fascination. He sells ten times more fountain pens now than he did ten years ago. Isn’t that something, in this technology-heavy world we live in? Ten times more. He thinks environmental awareness is part of it, with people liking the idea of buying one beautiful pen and a recyclable glass bottle of ink that lasts years instead of using disposable stuff. He could be right. Or perhaps there is an army of temptresses out there, generously sharing their pens and forgetting to mention until after they do that they’re addictive.
I think that could be it. Two weeks later, I was in the shop again while the friend I’d let try my fountain pen bought two of her own. And I’m sure she’ll tell two friends, and she’ll tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on…