Where to start? My love for the perfect writing instrument has literally been with me since I could hold a crayon. First it was the need for the Crayola box of 64 colors, then it was was the collection of pencils of every football team in the U.S. Yes, in 6th grade I had a perfect set of football team pencils, even though I never watched football. By seventh grade I refused to use any pencil but Ticonderoga, and they had to be sharpened just so. (Are you sensing a patten?) In college, it was Cross ballpoints. After college I liked Waterman ballpoints. Eventually, I found the best ballpoints in the world, Caran D’Ache. But, nothing could prepare me for finding fountain pens.
I had a few cheap fountain pens before finding “the one.” I didn’t know what I was doing, though. I didn’t know you could get bottled ink. I hated the way cartridges looked. I could never get a cartridge to look better than washed out. Something changed all that, though. In 2005 my husband and I took a trip to Washington DC with some friends of ours. I thought that because it was such a special occasion, I should try a really nice fountain pen. I had been reading Pentrace by then, and I wanted to see if it was possible to have a fountain pen that didn’t drive me crazy. So, off to Fahrney’s we all went. I bought a Conway Stewart 58 in Amethyst along with a bottle of Private Reserve Plum ink. And the rest, as they say, is history. Before I knew it, I was at the Chicago Pen Show spending twice as much as I had planned.
In the beginning, I sent most pens to Richard Binder to be tuned. I am, and have always been, incredibly picky about my writing instruments. Nothing was good enough unless he said it was good enough. Eventually, I learned to do some things on my own, and only sent them to him when there was no easy fix. I am profoundly grateful to have been able to take his nib smoothing class at the Ohio Pen Show. He is a real gentleman, and a true artist.
At this point, I have a boat-load of really nice pens. Writing instruments have been part of who I am for so long, it simply remains to be seen what form the hobby will continue to take in my life. I do think it is time to blog a bit about them, record what I have and what I know.