Towards the latter part of last year, my beautiful wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. As you can imagine there were gifts exchanged, and among them one suitably appropriate for a household (husband?) with an affinity (obsession?) for stationery. Before we get ahead of ourselves, while there is indeed a pen involved in this story, it is not in the “shiny new” way you might be thinking.
In this case, the “shiny new” is a notebook. In recent times I’ve taken to embossed notebooks to mark certain occasions, firstly a 50th birthday, and now the anniversary I’ve mentioned above. In all the excitement, something else quietly slipped by and has just come to me now. Four months later.
You see the bookend which begins this story is indeed a pen, and it was shiny and new quite a few years ago. It hit me just the other day — the pen I received as a wedding gift from my wife is of course also now 25 years old. My first fountain pen. All the way back then. Before the blog. Before any sort of foray into pen nerdery.
The pen? Well I’ve written about it before, even making the bold suggestion my first fountain pen was actually my grail pen. As pens go it was a fairly ambitious entry into the world of fountain pens. A Montblanc Meisterstuck Classique, in your standard black with gold trim. I don’t see many Montblancs recommended in the best beginner fountain pen lists out there — and for good reason of course.
The fact is though, I loved it then and I love it now. I get it, of course there are plenty of “more appropriate” beginner pens, though whether a more appropriate pen exists to mark the best day of your life? That I’m not so sure, but maybe I’m a little biased. In many ways it also leads directly to the point doesn’t it? These types of purchases are just as emotional as they are technical. Perhaps even more than we think.
Little did I know the extent to which that pen would eventually contribute to a deeper dive into pens themselves, the internet of pens, and the genesis of this very blog. To say it developed an ongoing affinity for the brand is probably not too far from the truth either.
I’ve been fortunate enough to acquire a good number of pens since that day, on varying ends of the price spectrum, however there can only be one original, and I’m pleased to have had a certain naivety in the process of acquiring it. There were no apparent choices in size, nib, colour, filling systems or anything else that becomes a consideration the further into the pen world you go. Nope. Of course there were indeed quite a few options, however it was always this one and only this one. Even knowing what I know now about pens, I’ve never felt that pang of: I wish I’d picked a …….. instead.
So how is it fairing after 25 years? Well I’d have to say it’s doing very, very well, and firmly maintains its place in the standard in and out rotation of pens along with the rest of my collection. It’s faultless medium nib has never failed me and has now seen both the wisdom and folly of thousands of words from the mind of its owner, having long forgiven my stumbling first few months of ownership.
And the notebooks? Well, at the current time they remain in the yet to be used category, given I have a few others on the go currently. Their time will come. I say notebooks in plural, as the purchase involved one for each side of this anniversary occasion. I’m not sure what my wife might have planned for hers (the navy if you’re curious), however I’m thinking my black one will be up next as my home desktop notebook. When using an “occasion” notebook, there may be the tendency to designate it for a “special” project or use. The birthday notebook I mentioned above has indeed been assigned the duties of my long form writing project, and there is certainly benefit to that — possibly even from an increased significance or meaning to the notebook itself.
Mind you, I’m here to also sing the praises of getting them into general use as well. The same as my pens. The significance or sentimental value in my mind is not lessened by using them in this way. I’m sure many of you are the same, it’s often by use that the connection is strengthened: the patina on a pen or leather; the change of a page from crisp and blank to crinkled and full; flipping back through bold, colourful, ink filled pages.
Its fairly evident from the images in this post that the notebooks themselves are of the Montblanc variety, and are a little more expensive than your average notebook, however again, the spend doesn’t necessarily equal (or need to) the significance. I’m sure that affinity for the brand I mentioned earlier certainly influences my decisions here, and also further illustrates the myriad of factors which may go into this type of purchase.
I guess one of the real joys of a pen and stationery habit is that there is always a “list” from which to choose when the time comes for either gifts or gift suggestions. Occasions like birthdays and anniversaries are of course prime candidates to cross something off that list and there will no doubt be a wide budgetary spectrum at play.
In the end it may be something expensive, or not so much, but the value to each of us will be inherent in the occasion it represents. Sometimes that will be a planned purchase for a life “milestone” but might just as easily be simply what you were using when a certain “thing” happened.
However it might occur, that significance will never be lost, regardless of cost, grandeur, or even whether or not it shows up on social media or written in a blog. It might even come to you out of the blue, say, four months past the event it commemorates, and that’s okay.
Just don’t wait four months after the date to remember your actual anniversary. No. Don’t do that.