Daydreaming on Paper
November 2014
Happy Fountain Pen Day!

The Sheaffer calligraphy pen set was my gateway drug.

I received one as a gift some time during my junior high school years. I vividly remember inserting the cartridge and assembling my pen. Then, using the included instruction book as a guide, I proceeded to write/draw my name in a wobbly approximation of italic. Thus began a lifelong love of not only calligraphy, lettering, and handwriting, but also fountain pens and inks.

I still have that calligraphy pen and use it almost daily. It is now part of an ever-growing collection of writing implements that I use in my notebooks for everyday writing and drawing. While I admire the expensive, ornate pens, I am a naturally frugal person, and one of the many things that I like about fountain pens is that even inexpensive ones can be aesthetically pleasing. No matter where they fall on the price scale, each of my pens is a practical work of art - a piece of functional jewelry that adds a layer of lushness and luxury to daily life. Using fountain pens allows me to tailor every aspect of writing to my preferences and needs. I can select the type and width of nib and color and properties of ink that will provide the optimal conditions for a pleasurable writing experience, which, of course, motivates me to look for any and every opportunity to make marks on a page and to explore the artistic boundaries of each combination. The writing implement itself nurtures creativity.

my Levenger Seas pens

These days, most of my writing is done with my signature pen - a purple Levenger Seas, a variant of the Sheaffer Connaisseur - which is filled with my signature bottled ink, Levenger Amethyst. It's been tossed about in bags and dropped more than once (it is missing its "button" cap on top), but it still performs beautifully, gliding across the page as smoothly as ever after more than 15 years. I also use a yellow Seas pen filled with black ink and a small collection of Sheaffer NoNonsense pens with interchangeable writing and italic nibs that I use with a variety of colored inks as a replacement for regular, disposable markers. My modest accumulation will not set any serious collector's heart afire, but the feeling of pure joy that I get when I use them to record the thoughts that tumble out of my head is priceless.

my Sheaffer NoNonsense penssome of my inks

In a fast-paced world geared toward high technology and constant obsolescence, sometimes the most satisfactory "fix" comes from slowing down and using tools that come with a bit of personal and collective history. Whether you are new to fountain pens and inks or just haven't used them in a long time, right now is a good time to try them out and explore what new dimensions they can add to the written word.

Happy scribbling!


Fountain Pen Day

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