Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pen Asceticism

Its been about a while since my last pen post and the hiatus, while greatly needed, allowed me to perform an experiment on myself for the benefit of my readers and fellow pen enthusiasts.  I consider myself new to avid fountain pen use and my experience comes from full immersion into using this utensil, but I have found myself with so many options as far as pen and ink combinations go.  While I enjoy using the different combinations of inks and pens, I felt that I might try to truly enjoy one ink and one pen combination for a full month.  I figured it would be best for me to pick my favorite ink and my favorite pen and carry it around everywhere I went.

I'm a kid in a candy store, but is it possible to eat just one type of candy in only one flavor for an entire month?

The ink I decided to use was Noodler's Red-Black and the pen, a Parker 51. My notebook of choice for this term is a Moleskine mid-sized notebook, which I have found is not conducive to feathering with either this ink or pen.  Now, using a Moleskine for taking class notes is not a new concept for me, but with this project I was much more interested than usual in keeping this notebook in as near to immaculate condition as possible. I happen to really enjoy the combination of cream paper, red-black ink (with beautiful shading), and the medium nib and flow of my Parker 51.  With ingredients as great as this, the end product certainly would be great.

Notes from Ancient Greek History class with my favorite professor!
It wasn't long before I found myself enjoying the writing experience more than ever before and finding excuses to write where I wouldn't have otherwise.  I found the experience to be interesting on a number of levels. I found myself really enjoying the time I spent writing, whether for class or fun, but I have to say that it went deeper than that.  I really found myself feeling a deeper connection to something greater than just the physical pen and paper.  I found that I had discovered a zen in writing. Yes, I feel silly thinking about it now, but it's the same kind of feeling that you get when you pick up a very old quarter and you think to yourself, "I wonder how many hundreds of people have held this coin?" It was being part of a greater writing tradition. There was something simple, antiquated, and gratifying to join the ranks of thousands before me.

During this month-long period, I found myself romanticizing what could be written with a fountain pen, and how so many authors/thinkers/inventors in the past had written with one as well.  The fountain pen is fundamentally different than a ballpoint because of what it symbolizes.  My only issue is that I feel this way about a pen.  How long ago would I have considered myself a total whacko for thinking this way? Through my fountain pen I can feel a connection to the past and to an era when the world was much more physical and more lived. So, yes, I feel stupid, saying it, but I would say I have developed a near spiritual relationship with my pen. The ink and paper are a significant part of it, but writing in a notebook for any reason is to almost enter into a trance. Paper, pen and author all become one. Its a feeling I'm not entirely accustomed to yet, but when the feeling washes over those of you who have experienced this feeling before, it is relaxing and invigorating and empowering all at the same time.

Eternally Inked,
The Classicist