It’s a strange fascination for some, I guess, to obsess on fine-liners, felt-tip pens, retractable gel writers, and hard-bound black cover notebooks when a Pilot ball pen and Corona notebook would do. But there are stranger things that we could obsess on, like from purely pink houses to Santa Clauses, and we love it.
My handwriting was particularly small in college, with only a pocket tickler to cover all my notes for one semester. So,I sought fine-pointed pens so I can fit two lines of text per notebook rule, with G-Tec C3, Uni-Pin 0.05, and the uncommon Micro variant of the retractable Uniball Signo being my top choices.
Yet I always dreamed of a fountain pen, looking at National Bookstore’s displays when I’m off to check out new Moleskine releases (they don’t make them like they used to) or get G-Tec refills. Whenever I get customized Parker pens for gifts, I’d hope to see a nib when I remove the cap. But all I got were ballpoints that would stop working after a few weeks.
Also, I couldn’t get myself one. Those NBS prices are expensive.
I forgot about fountain pens until my Japan trip in 2014, when I found a cheap one for under Php100 at a Daiso outlet somewhere in Aichi prefecture, where my host family dropped by to get some munchies. I’d lose that pen (and the replacement that I asked a schoolmate to buy) to borrowers, but I already slipped into the world of nibs and ink.
There is something about how the ink shades and flows on the right paper, and how it “glows” through a demonstrator barrel when light hits it at the right angle, and it makes you want to keep on writing until you use it all up so you could fill the pen again and continue writing.
Right now, I have around a dozen pens and about the same number of ink bottles, stopping the haul as I aim for a pricey piece of craftsmanship from Japan (Nakaya).
There is a line from the movie The Last Castle where the imprisoned general played by Robert Redford comments that those who actually went to war won’t need combat memorabilia. I obsessed on fountain pens and revived my notebook collection in a period when I haven’t written anything substantial for months after leaving journalism, and the pricey pens seemed to make up for whatever lack of output I may have.
Pen, journal, and macha combination for a slow afternoon.
So I write with my pens, and I love writing with them. If they make me jot down memories so ephemeral that they vanish in a whim, I’ll keep on bringing them until I go back to those days when I’ll write with anything on anything because I must see those words on paper.
Until what I write with won’t matter, but what I write.