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A Fountain Pen – The Old Is New Again
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A Fountain Pen – The Old is New Again

Hemingway used a huge Mont Blanc fountain pen to jot down annotations in his notebooks.

Mark Twain used one too.

Neil Gaiman writes with a TWSBI 530.

What do all this mean?

Well, if you think your writing is going nowhere these days, maybe you should try one of these fancy pens.


Fountain pens bring back memories from a romantic past. When life was still made out of flesh. When we knew somebody was there just by walking into a room. When things did not go that fast, and there was a time to breathe and digest what was learned that day.

Evolution led to the industrial era. Efficiency turned crucial. Time became money.

Society demanded a writing instrument that was easy to use, easy to get, easy to throw away. And then the disposable ballpoint pen was born. It was the reaction to the conservative, classy and expensive fountain pen, reflection of the old days. Of the past.

Our current society has now embraced its disposable nature more than ever. Everything needs constant upgrades, new models, pristine applications.

We are engaged in a compulsive behavior of wanting, getting, disposing. People don't spend time anymore on tasks that a computer can now perform in a few seconds. We don't want to waste our valuable time in crafts that now seem absurd, non-practical, and obsolete.

In this future, all items need a purpose, one that requires immediate attention to be fulfilled. Fast and easy.

But then again we get bored, and we have to think of new ways to feel we are actually meaningful. That we are not like the objects we possess or vice versa.

Thus, we look in the past for what we can't find in the future.

Amazon just reported that fountain pen sales doubled since last year.

OK. So, fountain pens are becoming popular again.

Is it because we want to go back to those days, when we had to put that little extra effort on the way our hand had to move on the paper?

Or, is it because we think that a fountain pen might have the impact we want in our content?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Writing is writing. Letters become words. Words form sentences. Sentences illustrate ideas.

Is the medium we use to materialize our thoughts that relevant?

I use to think this was not the case. However after a lot of trial and error, I've discovered that writing is just not writing. Is more than that. It is a ritual. A connection with our most deepest selves.

The light, the room, the sounds, the emotions, the paper, the pen.

We don't want to be part of a cold machinery. Sheer wanderers in an endless cycle. Automatons.

We don't want anymore disposable pens. Artifact that reminds us of how empty our society has become.

We want human contact, we want to prevail, to be unique, to write with passion.

Each stroke leaving a trail filled with emotion.

A fountain pen is satisfying a new appetite. A new need.

Fountain pens might be an illusion, though. They are as cold and snobbish as the machines we use today.

They look expensive and distant. They make look writing unattainable for those who can't afford one. For those who will not write anything on paper because of the fear of being ridiculed for using a Bic pen.

Just remember, writing is a process you carry with you all the time. And when it comes down to taking notes on the fly, you might want to use a ballpoint pen.

A fountain pen will certainly make your writing experience different. How different, or how much it will affect your content? Impossible to say, in the end that always depends on you.

Street Talk

Great article! I am a senior citizen know but I remember putting a lot of thought into buying the right pens. Of course that was back when people still sent out Thank You cards, wrote personal letters and kept them. Somehow a text message or Ecard just doesn't feel the same as receiving a hand written note. I use all the new forms of sending out a communication but I still like receiving cards and letters through snail mail.

  about 8 years ago

Pen? You mean they still make them? lol. Good article

  about 1 decade ago
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