This Friday, November 1 is the second annual Fountain Pen Day.
My original “fountain pen day”? That was sixteen years ago, the 20th day of September 1997, when I received the gift of a pen from my beautiful wife. The very same pen is with me every day, and is a constant joy and delight to use.
The irony is not lost on me as I write on a touchscreen keyboard about something so, well…traditional and analogue. However, this is the world we live in. As far as fountain pens go I entered at the deep end, the pen in question being a Montblanc Meisterstuck Classique, which has been a star performer since day one. The pen described by Montblanc:
Fountain pen with piston converter, 14 K gold nib with rhodium-plated inlay, barrel and cap made of black precious resin inlaid with Montblanc emblem, gold-plated clip and rings
Over the past sixteen years, I have used a limited range of inks, never venturing beyond the Montblanc variety, usually black or blue-black. Currently it is inked with Montblanc Midnight Blue. The nib is medium, and although a little broad for everyday work use, this is how I like it – something I use for enjoyment, not utility.
Why do those of us who use fountain pens do so? I’m sure we all have our reasons, however for myself, I would venture to say the answer would be similar to asking why I roast my own coffee – for the opportunity to be involved in what I am doing. To be a part of what is being produced, and influence the end result. My hand writing is far from perfect, and I often sit back and smile as I struggle to produce uniformity – for it’s in the struggle where you will find the worth, the reward. The never-ending search for a perfectly formed, written line is like the perfectly roasted bean and brewed cup, tantalisingly close but by necessity always beyond reach, for if ever truly achieved…
It is the slight imperfections in our endeavours that define us all and make us unique. The cup that just misses or the tail on the q being a little too short. The journey from line to line will take you towards it. Where? To somewhere you can only go in that moment of angle, pressure, ink flow and concentration. When to reposition your hand, whether the pen is rotated to the nib sweet spot, if I’m going to hit that fleck in the paper that may throw off my rhythm.
Hopeless? At times.
The perfect piece of written prose in perfect cursive? Never. This pen as the perfect companion for a lifelong writing journey? Yes indeed.
Another perfect companion for a life journey on that same “fountain pen day”? Absolutely. That day sixteen years ago was my wedding day.Follow @petedenison