Why is the fountain pen so admired? Is it not just another writing instrument, like a ballpoint, gel or pencil? Could you not produce the same words from a different tool? Yes, of course you could. But for me, it's not just a simple pen. I love its history, the beauty of its look, the wonderful array of inks that excite your eyes, the variety of strokes each pen can make and how they are unique from all others of its sisters and cousins, and the interest of each person's unique writing style that is encouraged by the fountain pen's presence in their life.
Less than a year ago, I had a forlorn and forgotten Cross Century II pen packed away in some dark and dusty corner of my desk drawer. And then, I met Jerry. Sitting at the local Starbucks writing away. I had to look twice before I realized that he was using a fountain pen. When I approached and asked him what he was doing, he began to excitedly show me his beloved Parker Duofold pen and the beautiful shading of the ink he was currently using, Noodler's Apache Sunset. He vehemently encouraged me to get my pen out of the drawer, clean it and use it again. He promised me it would be worth it.
So I did. And it was.
I had forgotten how fun it was to write with a fountain pen. I don't know if it's the design of it, the way it feels in my hand, or simply the way it writes, but it seems to me like a much more personal experience than writing with any other instrument. Jerry then proceeded to educate me about what a converter was (I always thought it was just for cleaning the pen and had never even used it!) and about all the beautiful inks available today. I was blown away by the selection of inks and that I could easily use them all if I would just install the converter in my pen. OK, I have to admit that I felt a little silly not realizing what it was for, but was so happy someone took the time to tell me.
Now I am totally addicted to trying different samples of inks and comparing and contrasting them to others. I love the inks that have special properties such as sheening or sparkling and the inks that have beautiful shading. I constantly have to restrain myself to not get a new fountain pen and ink sample every week and I often lose control and find myself, once again, hitting the "Continue to Checkout" button on my shopping cart! I now probably have enough samples of inks to last me a year and more than enough pens to fill with them.
After meeting with Jerry sporadically, I found another fountain pen lover in my neighborhood and we have made our meetings a weekly event. We talk about all things fountain pen including the pens (of course), papers, nibs, inks, stationery, cards, sealing wax and wax seals and whatever else comes up. Obviously our weekly meetings just weren't enough for me and after a random search on the internet, I found the Seattle Pen Club, and a whole new gang of fountain pen enthusiasts to play with!
I've started writing a journal using a different pen and ink for each day's entry. And I write at least one letter a week and usually more. I love hearing from my friends and family how appreciative they are to have received an old-fashioned, hand-written personal letter or card.
I hope never again, to forget the enjoyment of writing with a fountain pen.