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Does One Ever Forget?

Posted by Dirck on 12 September, 2012

While engaged upon yesterday’s covert literary effort, I was using yesterday’s publicly-avowed pen and ink.  I had chosen them in part with an eye to sticking with then throughout what promises to be a fairly lengthy endeavour, since I could feel the writing urge building up even on the weekend.  It’s a fine combination, too… and yet, an undertone of disappointment.

I’ve made a note in my little page of daily non-carries about the Sheaffer Agio I’m using for a completely different writing project, a short story which I really must stick a bow on in the next couple of days.  I resisted the urge to use that pen primarily because I’m not sure I want to face that Diamine Prussian Blue for several hundred pages, and that resistance carried through into the make of the pen itself.  There lies my disappointment.  The Parker “51” is a perfectly nice pen; while I’ve mentioned that I’m not one of the model’s acolytes, part of what brought me to select it was it answered well in the category of “comfortable for long patches of writing” and “not apt to distract me from the writing with its stunning beauty” (the latter consideration saw more than one pen banished).  However, what it lacks and what the Agio has is a connection to my first love.

…in terms of fountain pens.  My first pen, I’ve made no secret, was the third iteration of the cheap Sheaffer “school” cartridge pen.  Despite my exposure to grander pens from across the history of fountain pens themselves (although missing the first 25 years or so), it seems that the simple charms of that humble pen are built into the end of my arm as the test against which other pens are measured.  Those other pens may be, by any sensible measure, better, but my heart was captured when I was young, and no matter the charms of the others who come along afterwards, they’ll never quite measure up.  Even other Sheaffers, magnificent as many of them are (including today’s), are less “right” as they get more distant from the model.  The Agio is very nearly the same as the old school pens, and has a slightly more comfortable section; of course I’m enjoying it.

None of which is not to say that I’m going to give up on all the others.  I’m honest enough with myself to admit that my first love has inherent failings.  I’m lucky in that this sort of promiscuity carries no moral baggage, nor are there grudges held by those set aside for the moment’s fancy.  The pens are patient.

Although… I wonder if I’m not setting my little son up to pine for Germans.

Today’s pen: Sheaffer Sovereign
Today’s ink:  Herbin Violette Pensée

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5 Responses to “Does One Ever Forget?”

  1. I too am not an aficionado of the “51”. I respect the design, but aesthetically it does nothing for me. I also don’t much care for hooded nibs. It’s a well-functioning pen, though, and it holds a staggering amount of ink. But it will never be one of my Most Beloved Pens.

    • I don’t even have the excuse of not liking hooded points in a generic way, but I’ve not found it to have any powerful advantage over many other pens of its era/price range. I can get a quasi-vicarious tingle of what a user in 1948 would have taken from the pen– “Whooo-ee! We’re livin’ in the future!”– but the future has offered so many disappointments I’m not sure that helps.

  2. […] Javelin and Legacy (and, moving onto another recent acquisition, just doesn’t work with the Agio).  It seems that Sheaffer has finally, after trouble dating back to the Balance, worked out how to […]

  3. […] suggesting a cheap pen to someone, I’d probably lean more towards the Pilot than the Sheaffer, as much as that pains me.  The converter, the slightly less loopy colour schemes (I know the VFM comes in other than […]

  4. […] I’ve mentioned in the past that if I’m to declare any allegiance at all to a brand, it’s Sheaffer, but for reasons that almost certainly have foundation in past lives, I really, really like Pelikan.  I had never owned one of their pens until… well, within the past five years, certainly, but I’ve spent much of my life pining for a nice stripey broad-billed pen.  While I scratched that primary itch just over a year ago, they continue to fascinate me, in part because I’m trying to fathom why I can remember being interested in the brand rather before I knew about it.  Thus, getting into a room with a load of Pelikans, even if there were other people around, would be a treat. […]

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