The first Friday of November (today) is Fountain Pen Day and pen shops all over the world are celebrating with sales, special deal, and store-wide discounts. It’s always a good day to pick supplies if you need them, so check out your regular pen shop to see if they take part in the celebration.
The Fountain Pen
While there’s a commercial side to this holiday, there’s also just the celebration of this fantastic writing tool. This holiday shares the love for the fountain pen and introduces people to something they might not be familiar with. While the older generation learned to write with fountain pens, they give the younger generation ballpoints and laptops. Most of us forgot the magic of fountain pens and we need a nudge to find it again.
Some people have certain prejudice towards the fountain pen. They’re too much work, stain your fingers, or their handwriting sucks. Fountain pen day is a great initiative to show these prejudices aren’t always true. Sure, a pen can leak, but they’re not supposed to. And a fountain pen often helps to improve your handwriting. Another one I hear a lot is that left-handed people can’t use it. That’s not true! There are many left-handed fountain pen users. You just need to find the right pen, ink, and paper combination.
The Goulet Pens Youtube channel is still one of the best resources to get started with fountain pens. Buying your first pen might not be much of a problem, but knowing the basics like maintenance, the differences between nibs and inks, and maybe even paper — they cover everything.
My Love For Fountain Pens
I still learned to write using a fountain pen. Probably a Lamy, like many others. Even when we weren’t forced to use them anymore, I still liked to write with them. I still have the Tweety Parker I got when I was a kid. While it might not be able to write anymore, it’s still a nice keepsake. It helped that my mother and grandfather had used them for a long time as well. My mother gave me the ink bottle my grandfather used after he passed away. I don’t know where his pens are, but even this small thing is nice to have.
In high school, I switched ballpoints and gel pens. I used my gel pens to colour code, and I used the free ballpoints from the various businesses (my dad always took one for me). I didn’t use them again until I entered university and I needed to write a lot more. My hands started cramping from pressing the pen to the paper. One thing I learned then was that fountain pens don’t require any pressure while writing. The weight of the pen is enough to transfer the ink from pen to paper. This was exactly what I needed.
I bought my first fountain pen on my way to class and haven’t looked back since. The Parker Urban was my first real pen, and the second one only came when I graduated, a gift from my parents — a Waterman Hemisphere inscribed with my graduation date. That’s the pen I used to sign the contracts for my first job and mortgage. The Pilot Metropolitan was my work pen, not that expensive and sturdy. The purple colour made me happy and I could use up all the cartridges I still had from my younger years.
Since then, many others followed and many ink colours from across the spectrum. While my reason to get back into fountain pens was my physical health, I now use my pens and inks to give me energy. I still write every day with a vibrantly coloured pen filled with different colour ink, with or without shimmer. If I need cheering up, I’ll try to find something to do with my pens. Even just a routine clean gives me energy.
Give It A Go
While this might not be a hobby for everyone, I’d still recommend trying it out and experience the difference in the writing experience. If you have a job that requires a lot of writing, or if you do a lot of writing in your free time, give it a go. You might have a friend who’s willing to introduce you, or you could visit a store that allows you to try them out. Now might not be the best time, but once we’re able, please go.
Fountain pens aren’t just for stuffy people. They’re better for the environment when you use bottled ink. You’ll save the world from a lot of extra plastic from cartridges and non-refillable ballpoints. They stand out, especially if you differ from the standard black cigar shape. You can add more colour to your day by using another ink colour than black and blue. Or use one with a shimmer or sheen. Sign your Christmas cards with one of these fancy inks and people will surely remember yours.
I might not be an expert on all things fountain pens, I’ve learned quite a lot. So if you have any questions about them, please ask. Leave a comment, email me, or poke me on Twitter. I’ll happily answer them.