This whole fountain pen business reminds me at times about the DSLR camera: paper, pen, ink … ISO, aperture, shutter speed. You can’t change one without changing the others. Almost.
When I started out, I found out about Clairefontaine paper and thought it was heavenly. After a while a pen pal in Germany sent me a few sheets of Tomoé River paper, and there was no going back. It’s so thin! It’s like the type of paper they use in bibles and such. Still, no bleeding through, minimal ghosting, extremely smooth. It brings out the colours and the shading of the ink in a beautiful way. I got totally hooked on this type of paper. Started buying notebooks from Goulet Pens in Virginia, US and also from Nanami Paper in California. The latter sells a thicker notebook, close to 500 pages, called Seven Seas.
Up until now, they’ve only sold it in A5 format, but the other day I was in there looking for something else when I found this:
A new, smaller format! It’s 176 x 110 millimetres, which supposedly corresponds to the format B6. I bought one right away and it arrived today. This will suit my needs in many ways — the A5 I basically only use for “Morning Pages”. This will be great for daily scribblings and much cheaper in the long run, than the small notebooks I’ve been buying. This was $12 US. Here’s another picture to get a sense of proportions …
The other day I was thinking of how I used to be so totally sold on Clairefontaine in the beginning. Brought out a notebook and tried to write with one of my Pilot Metropolitan pens. They are trusty pens that usually will handle whatever you throw at them. If my memory serves me right, I think it was inked with Waterman. I didn’t find it comfortable at all! Changed to another Metropolitan, but with a different ink — Sailor Jentle Souten. Somewhat better! Then I tried my Pelikan, which was inked with Quink … terrible! Then it struck me; back then, when I was using Clairefontaine the most, I only had Lamy pens … nothing else. So, I grabbed my yellow Lamy and wrote in the little Clairefontaine book. It was every bit as wonderful as it used to be. Hence, the comparison with photography … it all must come together: ink, pen and paper.