Friday, March 11, 2011

The Addiction: Explained

I am a member of a community of pen enthusiasts. I realize that many of us really enjoy just using pens, but for some of us, it goes much farther than that.
I carry all of these around with me everywhere I go!

I'm addicted to pens, but this post will cover a small niche of that area, specifically fountain pens.
I am a college student, so my hard earned money almost all goes into my savings account, but I allot myself a certain amount for pens each month. I am sometimes forced to combine my allotment for two months so that I can make a purchase. This is my method for enabling my habit. The rush of opening a box from or is without compare.

I rationalize my habit in a number of ways:

1. I have a few bottles of ink (8) and I am often asked, "How long does it to to finish a bottle of ink?" It usually takes me quite a while to finish a bottle, and they don't seem to understand why I have so many. What they don't understand is that there are different inks for different scenarios. Different colors are appropriate for work and letter correspondence. Why should my life be drab and defined by one color? Using one color for a long time, no matter how vibrant, makes it become dull. I enjoy the variety and vibrancy that a reasonably sized ink collection provides.

2. As Nathan Tardif has stated, the price of ink (specifically Noodler's) are the cheapest per ounce on the market. Assuming a comparable pen, such as a G-2, costs $2.00, then a 4.5 ounce bottle of ink holds the same volume as that of 75 pens. The savings are ridiculous, even if you have many different ink colors. You just have to use them all to get the savings. It's a good motivation to write.

3. In regards to the number of fountain pens I own, I not only value each pen that I own, but appreciate being able to write with any ink at any time.  Having a pen ready to write for each ink that I own is a luxury, I realize, but it is also a necessity.  It allows me to easily grab notebooks by scanning a page, because I use different inks for different subjects.

I really liked the lighting in this picture, even though it is pretty much the same picture as above. :)

4. Part of the reason that so many of us in this community are interested in these niche pens is because they're far more interesting than the standard disposable pen and better for the environment. Our words are interesting, so shouldn't our writing instruments be too?

5. Last and most importantly, I feel like I'm more of a part of history.  Everything that I write (especially in the Classics) owes much to the past.  Writing is just that much more enjoyable knowing that I'm part of a great writing tradition.

I look forward to many more years of fountain pen enjoyment and feeding my addiction.  I'll also be sure to pass it on to others. Maybe I'm not addicted. Maybe I'm in love.


  1. I have many of the same feelings. There's also a big "retro" component for me when it comes to fountain pens (which, I guess, corresponds somewhat to your factor on being a part of history). While I think the internet is a great way to get in touch or keep in touch with certain communities (including, ironically, pen-pencil-paper people), I don't use it to keep in touch with family or close friends.

    I like that I am doing something like they did in the "good ol' days." One of the things I like about watching the TV show Mad Men (set in the early 60s) is to see what it was like to communicate. I truly envy the lack of electronic intrusions that people had. (Again, somewhat ironically, since I watch the show on an electronic device.)

  2. Well said and much of it would also apply to other analog sketching tools that have been somewhat displaced and replaced by digital ones.

  3. Good post! I agree on the emotions of the fountain pen. Using such an instrument lends more credibility and weight to my words. It forces me to slow down a wee bit and think rather than just pour trash all over the paper.

  4. Great article! I feel some of the same things. I always get warm inside when I pick up a fountain pen to write. A fountain pen is "an elegant weapon for a more civilized age" if I may poach a little Star Wars quote. Although this bygone age of ours is not necessarily more civilized. Your post compels me to also write a post about my love for fountain pens.

  5. You'll never have to convince me of the benefits! That is a great explanation to the "free bank pen" crowd out there.