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Pusher

Posted by Dirck on 21 October, 2011

A friend of mine has been in correspondence over the past week about getting a pen and some ink.  The culmination was the arrival of a nice TWSBI 540, with an impending denoument of some mail-borne ink.  Because I had a miserable migraine-addled sleep (until 3.30am when “sleep” could no longer be said to be happening), I find myself now slightly wondering at the nature/nuture aspect of fountain pens.  Was this move prompted by an inclination towards fountain pens, known to be present previously, simply reawakening?  Was it some subconscious peer emulation, in the mode of “Gosh, he’s sure enjoying fountain pens, maybe I should give them another try”?

Since the last sentence there was based on the knowledge that the man himself looks in here with some regularity, we may get an actual answer (which will spoil the fun of the 17th century-style natural philosophic inquiry, in which facts are less useful than speculation).  I sort of hope the latter; I’d rate it a victory if I discovered that I was in fact nudging susceptible people into fountain pen use….

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Lifetime 1750 
Today’s Ink: Diamine Steel Blue

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4 Responses to “Pusher”

  1. As is always the case in real life, it was a combination. Your passion for the craft reawakened my natural interest in writing instruments. I couldn’t help but bring the pen, box and all, to show the guys in the lab. By the time I had finished my “unboxing presentation” and had gotten to the hidden wrench and silicon grease, one of them exclaimed, “This is an engineers pen!”. As an engineer, it was his nature to be attracted any well designed fine instrument (although possibly today we awakened new followers).

    To bring in the nurture element, some people have grown up fully in the material world. I think these people are attracted to fountain pens because it’s a kind of status symbol that sets one apart from the herd. Controlling for cost, these are the “Mont Blanc” users. I think the people who enjoy the pen at a purer “writing instrument” level, because it is in their nature, would be drawn to the TWSBI. Are you happy to use the pen at home to write important thoughts, or is it more important to have the pen at work or in public so people can see you using a fountain pen? Of course, as always, no one is completely in either camp. I did, after all, bring my TWSBI in to show before it goes back home for journal writing…

    • We must be careful with the Mont Blanc folks– they get a lot of razzing and I hear some of them actually use their pens.

      As the Overarching Panjandrum of Mannenhitsu-do, I should know better than to pose mere dichotomies in the realm of the pen. I’ll blame it on the lack of sleep and being driven to the brink of madness by the apparently endless proofreading and attendant tweaking of the new site (which I am over-selling horribly with all this lead-up). I know in my own case that I use fountain pens preferentially (and nigh-exclusively), whether in utter isolation or a crowded public space, but there are cycles in the internal state of doing so. Sometimes I’m merely writing stuff down. Sometimes I lose the thread of my text through becoming mesmerized at the magnificent interaction of pen, ink and paper (so far, never for more than twenty minutes…). Sometimes there is a certain addition of curlicue to the act of uncapping the pen, in the foolish expectation that those about me will fall over in a transport of amazement and envy (oddly, never actually happens).

      I was about to say, “I’ll bet no one ever rattles on about a Bic like this,” but then I realize that this is the internet, and any fetish one can think of can be found with a little digging. I should probably try to have a nap rather than wax all mystical.

      • TWSBI Update! I did perform the water fill as you suggested to lift out any manufacturing oil residuals (strictly for technical reasons, of course), and just in time too, because the ink arrived today (Friday). I went with the Herbin Perle Noire.

        Apropos to your blog entry, I now find myself similarly wondering: Your start on The Great Work began about the same time I fired up my own fabulous blog (not fabulous by my own hand I might add, but by a professional – my bro-in-law, Marc LaFoy). Might Marc’s work have similarly inspired you to rework and enhance your own blog?

        Well, off to make my first journal entry – the proper way. BTW… Do you remember that blue tortoise Waterman I bought from the stationary store on (I think) 11th Avenue just past the Cornwall Centre? If so, what model was it? I can’t seem to find it online. It had a similar piston fill mechanism which was, in my opinion, superior to the TWSBI for one simple reason. You could detach the ink reservoir and dip that in the ink well, whereas with the TWSBI you have to dunk the entire nib in the ink = extra wipe-up-ee.

      • I don’t clearly remember the model, but I do recall the converter as Waterman has hardly changed them since. The price paid for that convenience is a relatively paltry 0.7ml capacity, slightly less than half that of the TWSBI; remember the marathon note-writing challenge of Military History class? Anyway, if you object to the manly mess of filling a pen in the old way, you can always send TWSBI some more of your money and get one of their own ink-bottles. You unscrew the section of the pen, screw the pen onto the bottle, and fill up without the outside of the pen getting nearer the ink than the thickness of its own walls. It’s a very clever system which also gets around some of the geometry problems of the Herbin bottles; I’m likely going to get one myself in the pretty near future.

        The Great Work was entirely internally motivated; I’ve been discontent with the look of my site since about the second month it was up, and it’s mere coincidence that ANYTHING connected to anyone I knew was occuring at the time I finally threw Motivation, Work Ethic and Concentration into a room and threatened them with no supper unless they worked together nicely.

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