SETI at Home

My affair with fountain pens

Fountain pens are a total joy to write with. I collect them, I use them and I am crazy about them. Had I the time I would do all my handwritten chores with fountain pens. Whatever the naysayers may scream, migrating to ball pens or rollers was a sure step back for the human race. We’ve sacrificed our creativity for speed and in the process have lost parts of our souls with the surrender of this once ubiquitous tool of expression and its reign of channeling our deepest thoughts out for the world to see for over a hundred and fifty years.
pens-1The instrument which aspired the ascent of cultured man and allowed our spirits to soar across the stars was this ingenious piece of creation that possibly had greater impact on the course of human history than the computer or the motor car.
Even today, some of the best prose I write comes not only from handwritten text but handwritten with a fountain pen. Yes, it is slow, it is tedious and ink tends to smudge and soak through the paper. But that’s not what the fountain pen is about. It is about the magic that comes especially out of that blurred scribbling.
Of course, most of the time deadlines make it impossible to attempt any literary cathedral of words with the slow grace of fountain pens. Clients don’t really care for prose, they just want the work done so they can move on to other things. It’s a pity the whole world seems to be rushing without direction or purpose – and at the cost of our imagination.
pens-2For generations fountain pens have provided the means of immortality to many and source of inspiration to so many more. Some of the most sublime flights of our mind’s eye owe their existence to this iconic piece of plastic and metal. An incredible number of our classics from varied fields and cultures have reached out across time and space to touch the hearts and mold the minds of millions.
When I hold a well made fountain pen in my hand I can’t help but be mesmerized by the power and possibilities flowing to my mind through my pulsing veins. The worlds, the times, the sheer volume of passions rush to surround me amidst their milieu.
You can’t rush when writing with a fountain pen. Unlike a ball pen and totally contrasting with a word-processor, your mind takes the time to think out your thoughts to choose word forms and sentences with intentional deliberation. Its not just nostalgia or the misplaced romance of living in the past, fountain pens discipline us to experience the breadth of our own minds like no other medium of communication.
Over the years I’ve used nearly seventy fountain pens and I’ve enjoyed almost all of them. I often write with higher pressure than most people and that tends to wear out even steel nibs frequently. Still I have about thirty fountain pens in varying degrees of functionality. All of them write but some are too worn out and write in thicker blots than graceful lines. But all are precious.
If you love writing, in any form – or love words, give fountain pens a chance, you’ll likely surprise yourself pleasantly. Besides fountain pens are making a comeback all over the world, so I can’t be that off my rockers.

Speak Your Mind

*