Back in April, this year, a Facebook-friend posted a photo of a new fountain pen he’d bought. In the picture all you could see was basically the nib. It was a great photo — crisp and with lots of DoF.

I told him how sorry I was I couldn’t use these writing instruments, due to being left-handed. He then gave me a link to some website which sent me on a journey that will probably last the remaining part of my life.

In fact, I’d only tried fountain pen once, and then I was still a kid. My mother owned a quite lovely Montblanc pen, and she allowed me to try it once. It all turned out a big blot and turned my own hand blue. I’m a, so called, over-writer, meaning I drag my hand over what I just wrote, holding my hand in a hooked position.

Now, however, I learned there are inks that are so fast-drying so even a person like myself would be able to write with fountain pens. There were tips and tricks about changing position, but I didn’t care too much for them. It only caused an ache in my shoulder, and general tensions in all kinds of little, unknown, muscles.

fountain_finenibThe news [to me] about fast-drying ink sounded marvellous so I went ahead and bought my first fountain pen at Staples.

I wasn’t prepared at all! I knew nothing about the world of fountain pens and paper qualities. Cross had been my favourite brand for years — I thought that was the Rolls Royce of pens — so I bought a very slim, fine-nibbed Cross pen, went home and went at it.

Started out in a Moleskine notebook I had lying around. Almost immediately that proved to be a not so wise decision. The ink was bleeding so badly … so I tried regular copy paper from the printer. That was actually better, but the pen was too slim — it felt delicate, like holding a strand of spaghetti or something. I also wanted to write on something else but copy paper. Realised something had to be done, so I went to Walmart and bought a box of Hammermill paper … cotton, with watermark. That was alright, but all of a sudden the nib became very scratchy.

The main part of this project was my own handwriting. In all my life, I’d been dissatisfied with my own penmanship. As soon as I saw somebody else’s neat handwriting, I tried to imitate it, only resulting in that I lost, whatever personal, handwriting I might have had. Add to that all these years of Internet! There would be days and days when I never picked up a pen at all.

Me, being such a “web person” …  why I not googled all this before I started, is an enigma. It took probably a couple of weeks before I got any kind of joy out of all this. On top of it all, I found out there weren’t any converters for my pen, so I’d have to stick to cartridges. I hadn’t learnt about syringe filling then.

Next post will be about when I finally found out about Clairefontaine — good quality paper, and how it all became a delight — how I got really hooked!


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