I’ve admired fountain pens as long as I can remember. I recall my father’s Shaeffer Student cartridge pens, with which he recorded students’ marks in a weathered gradebook; I remember the hefty pens from visits and films, that I associated with elegance and class; I remember the Rapidograph that I brought back from France when I was in high school, and my mother’s Osmiroids with italic nibs. I have picked up miscellaneous pens over the decades: a few translucent Shaeffer Student pens of my own, some No Nonsense cartridge pens, Osmiroids of my own, the handsome Mont Blanc pen that my mother gave me when I got my Ph.D., the salmon marbled Esterbrook J pen that she handed down to me, a Pelikan from Margaret, a Stypen in which Nate lost interest, a Pelikan Future pen I bought on a whim. Some are still in the mug on my desk; some have eluded my attention and escaped to further adventures in someone else’s hand.
During my birthday season, I’ve returned to my primal fascination with fountain pens and gone on a mini-spree (hey, they’re a lot cheaper than sports cars) and replenished my fountain pen mug. I supplemented the Pelikan Future with a Lamy Safari; together they’ll provide the simple work-a-day pen support for my writing. I tracked down a couple of Esterbook J’s to complement the one from Mom (I’m a big-time sucker for Esterbrooks — though they don’t have the prestige of the costlier pens, I love their appearance and the way they write). I picked up a few Shaeffer Student pens from eBay, since (as it turns out) they no longer make those simple, hard-working cartridge writers. While I was on eBay, I spotted a couple more distinctive pens: a clear plastic Waterman Phileas, and a translucent purple Waterman Kultur (I can’t explain that one; it was auction fever). I’ll carry the Esterbrooks or the Phileas for more formal occasions. And I’ll love every jot and tittle of them (and every blot on my fingers).
Plus, it’s something Scot McKnight and I can agree about!