stevemedcroft.com
29Jul/150

Fountain pen

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A week ago my wife, my son and I went to a used bookstore called Thrifty Joe's Books & Music.. I wanted to find a reference book to help me landscape the dozens of trees, cacti, shrubs and other fauna on our new property. But one of the great things about a used bookstore is that it’s a great place to discover something new.

My son and I were thumbing through a book called something like A List of Likes. And it was exactly as advertised; a book full of lists from a variety of contributors that all started with the words ‘I like....’

One contributor listed all the things they liked about their cat. Someone else listed all the foods they liked. It was a very simple premise but compelling because every list in the anthology came from an amazing space of appreciation. I resonated with it because I sometimes forget to appreciate the things that are good and great about life while I focus instead on things that are troubling me, or stressful.

I am a throwback. I like things made in the era when the solution to problems was resolved with mechanic ingenuity and not electronic or computer technology. Here’s one of those things I appreciate.

I write with a fountain pen. As difficult as it can be to read sometimes, I like the way my handwriting looks on the page. I like how it reflects the pressure and flow of my writing. I like that my writing has my personality, a style that is identifiable as mine. I like that this style has not changed as long as I have been writing. You can look at something I wrote in pen twenty years ago and compare it to what I'm writing right now and you would easily be able to connect the two pieces as coming from the same person.

I like sealed, disposable cartridges for my fountain pen. I like blue ink. I like the differences in inks from different cartridges, different production batches, different manufacturers; some vibrant mid blue, some watery and weak, some deep and dark. I like how sometimes when you start with a new cartridge, the ink color shifts over the first few hundred words; starting out dark, Indigo, night-sky blue then fading to whatever this cartridge’s normal tone is.

I like capping the pen every time I pause in my writing. I like the tactile, crisp, click of the pen’s cap seating and unseating from the barrel as I remove and replace it.

I like the simple but elegant engineering of a fountain pen. Ink pulled through a narrow channel along the nib through capillary action, rolling through the nib's tip, drawn onto the paper, pulling more ink through for the next pen stroke.

I like using a fountain pen for all writing, no matter how mundane. I like writing ten pages in my notebook as much as I like jotting short notes. I like how my fountain-pen lets me leave a distinct and permanent mark on Post-It notes, on scraps of paper, on reports, on bills, on notebook pages.

I love my modern fountain pen. It is made in Germany by LAMY out of aluminum and plastic and stainless steel. It cost less than $40. I love that it is a working tool and not simply an ornament. I love writing in fountain pen.