The fountain pen is almost a relic from another age, nearly eclipsed by innovations that make pens sturdier, less likely to leak, and more disposable. Not many people care to mess with a fountain pen when a free ballpoint is readily available at any counter.
But for those who take the slight time and effort to learn how to write properly with a good quality fountain pen, writing can become a truly rewarding experience. A decent fountain pen offers a choice between plastic ink cartridges, or a refillable ink reservoir. Most allow switching between the two at will. The nibs are gold or iridium plated for very smooth writing. The pen’s barrel—again, a throwback to an older age—fits one’s hand comfortably, a far cry from today’s stick pens.
Luckily for my current lifestyle, I experimented with fountain pens a long time ago, when I worked a regular job, and could better afford quality writing instruments. One must pay more for a good fountain pen, but really no more than a nice executive model ballpoint pen. I chose the highest quality I could afford at the time, and that has repaid me many times over. If a quality pen leaks, The manufacturer will repair or replace it, usually at no charge. I’ve lost track, but I think I’ve owned my Waterman for at least 15 years. It shows no sign of wearing out, and I certainly haven’t grown tired of it.
Lately, however, I gave in to temptation: A friend recently began making pens for his store, including fountain pens. He made one with a moose antler barrel, and I couldn’t resist investing some of my earnings from sales of my book through his store in a new writing instrument. The local materials, the association with my friend, and its incredibly low price for the quality made it worthwhile.
In learning about fountain pens, I read a lot of advice on the subject, much of which has proved useful. An experienced user observed that if a person borrows an expensive pen, they’re far more likely to return it than they might a cheap one. Further, I’ve found that very few people are willing to borrow a fountain pen at all! I’ve offered mine to many people who see that it’s a fountain pen and back away, perhaps alarmed that it might explode, spraying ink all over them.
Using a fountain pen requires a little more care and thought to use. It requires deliberation, which suits my deliberate lifestyle. I feel good every time I use it, and to get that feeling, I use it every day.
That’s my preference. What’s yours? Some delight in a well sharpened pencil, others really like roller balls, or felt tips. Whatever suits you best, cultivate the usage, and enjoy life just a little bit more.