iWalk Amphibian

Is there such a thing as the Best Pen Ever?

As Kathy mentioned a few days ago, finding a great pen for letter writing can be a transformative experience. I told you all last year about how I got addicted to fountain pens (Mary is to blame…. she is always to blame), though I do still have my gel pens as well. With all the pen choices out there I’m sure there are still a few of you looking for the One. If so, you may want to check out this post over at The Wirecutter wherein they’ve determined that the best pen ever is the uni-ball Jetstream.

To call that post a simple pen review is to severely downplay how extensive it is. Clocking in at over 6,000 words, the post is actually super informative for people who want to understand what makes a pen awesome or crap (hint: price is not the only factor). The site called on multiple pen experts to come up with the ultimate determination, all of whom make it their business to know all there is to know about pens. Incidentally, the blogs of the experts are great to follow if you’re a pen nerd.

The Wirecutter focused on pens that are inexpensive, semi-disposable, and easy to find at major retailers in the US, so that leaves out high-end fountain pens, imports, and specialized instruments. Still, it’s always good to know which pen out of the sea of them at Staples is better than all the others.

What are your favorite pens? Not just the ones you use to compose beautiful letters, but the ones you reach for when you need to jot a note, sign something, or write in a journal. Are they the same pens?

Preppy Pen

My current favorite fountain pen is an inexpensive one from Japan called the Preppy pen. If you’re lucky enough to live in a town with a Japanese bookstore or other store that imports from overseas you can probably get one for around $4. JetPens sells them, as does Amazon. You can get it with a fine or medium nib and the ink cartridge is replaceable. I like Preppy pens not just because they don’t cost much, but because the caps has a great seal on it that doesn’t allow the nib to get dried out. Even if I leave it in my pen bag for weeks it still writes just fine without assistance.

iWalk Amphibian

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a digital person, so it will not surprise you that I carry around a tablet stylus in my pen case. My stylus happens to be a pen as well: the iWalk Amphibian. The cartridge that comes with it is a typical ballpoint, but it also takes Parker gel pen refills and that’s what I use with it.

Show and Tell in the comments, let’s see your favorites!

22 thoughts on “[Wayback Repost] Why do letters seem more daunting than email?”

  1. Having been a letter writer for several years now, I don’t particularly find this challenge all that difficult, other than remembering to do it every day instead of when the whim takes me to write. And since I may not have a penpal’s letter to answer, then I need to think outside my normal circle of penpals and write to others. I saw this as an opportunity to reconnect with a few old penpals that had lapsed, family members that live outside of the city, friends I haven’t seen in a while, and strangers or persons of stature. I think it’s a great challenge and maybe it will even boost the joy of those who process all this mail and deliver it to us. 🙂

  2. I love your post. And I totally agree.

    Email, tweets n twitters, FB comments all have their place and moment in time where they are the appropriate way to respond.

    However, sending a letter, postcard, or notecard is the only way to connect with someone on a more personal, even intimate, level.

    The act of sending a missive does take time, but more importantly it takes thought. What paper will I use? What will I add (stickers, washi, etc.)? What will I say? Combined these choices will be a bright spot in someone’s day. Added bonus? It was created specifically for them.

  3. Great article on postcard apps but you should also take a look at Postsnap’s easy to use postcard app.
    The app offers a number of unique features compared to the other apps reviewed including:
    – Guest checkout with Apple Pay
    – Extensive personalization options including collage layouts, stylish borders which can be adjusted in size with a slider and the option to add editable text in a variety of font types and colors and position it anywhere on the cards
    – iPhone and iPad support
    – Apple Pencil support
    – Facebook and Instagram integration
    – US postal address verification and UK postcode lookup
    Cards are printed and posted in our facilities in the UK, USA and Australia on the same or next working day and so cards typically arrive quickly. Enjoy!
    Stephen Homer

  4. I have been writing letters for several years now. My go to paper is Rhodia Premium or Rhodia Ice pads. I also Life pads too. I like them because they are not quite as slick as the Rhodia.

  5. I too love journals to pull apart for writing. For me the most important aspect of the paper is the pattern. I love to have some colour and some design on the paper. I’ve managed to find a number of nice colours and designs at one of my local “Home Sense” discount stores in the book section. Most of the small journals are a perfect size to fit in the envelopes I use. If not I just give one edge a bit of a trim (but sometimes I really like the ripped edge look too!) ;P

  6. Hi, Christmas cards & more recently a letter (a bill) from the UK to Australia have taken 3 weeks to arrive. The exterior of these envelopes were stamped with a mark such as this from the latest envelope:
    DLC 992-4
    The example quoted arrived at the Australian address on 28/07/2017, unfortunately it contained a bill dated 06/07/2017 which had to be paid within 14 days, by 20/07/2017.
    Why is the post so slow? What does the DLC 992-4 stamp signify? Would appreciate your feedback.

  7. My letter that I wrote was in September. The person who it was for still hasn’t gotten it and it’s now November….
    I don’t understand why it’s taking this long. I live in AZ and he lives in NY. I want answers.

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