What's up at Ravens March.

Vintage pens-Handmade books-Silly statements


Posted by Dirck on 26 May, 2009

I’ve just been over at the FPN reading yet another hand-wringing thread regarding both the motivation to use fountain pens and the practicality of their quotidien use in the real world.

I will preface by stating my objection to the use of “real world” in this way– a phrase which implies that someone’s starting point lies in an impractical ootopia (vs. a eutopia, he said smugly). Pens of whatever sort have been workplace tools since the invention of ink… in Europe, at least… and I’m not including in my turning over of the subject any pens that aren’t meant for actual use (most of which are sinfully ugly anyway).

Are fountain pens practical? Sure. You choose the tool for the job, though. A wood chisel is not what you use to clean a mirror, and there are some writing tasks that don’t suit a fountain pen. Of course, I’ve used nothing but a fountain pen at my current and previous Regular Job, and have generally used a fountain pen in preference to other mark-makers since I first stumbled on the concept back in my primary school days (long enough ago that there were rather more of them to stumble on, I’ll grant).

Why use them? A recent film (mentioned at Ink Quest) reduces it to pretention. Hooey. Since a lot of people wouldn’t know a fountain pen if they stumbled on one, who are we impressing? I mentioned a few posts back that I was unsatisfied with the performance of a gel rollerball, and for me that’s the point. With a fountain pen, I get the most legible marks on paper for the least effort.

We are in an age in which “Do as thou wilt” is very nearly the whole of the law. I won’t deny people the right to spend foolish amounts of money over their lifetime to buy an endless series of cheap pens that don’t work very well, but my own inclination says– if I’m writing, I might as well do a job I can be proud of, and one which causes me the least strain. When a wood chisel is the right tool, you want one that has a proper edge and is sturdy enough to withstand the mallet, right?

The fact that my particular set of chisels are beautiful in and of themselves is a mere side benefit. Well, usually. Today’s pen isn’t a real stunner.

Today’s pen: Lamy 2000
Today’s ink: Herbin’s Blue Nuit (gosh, I seem to rely on Herbin rather a lot, don’t I?)

P.S.– I’ve been looking at some of the things I wrote yesterday, and given a day of setting up, I regret the sexist remark I made about the previous ink. It’s a passable if dusty burgundy.

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