The view from my cup – fountain pens

The view from my cup…fountain pens. Last year, a friend told me about a great deal she got online for fountain pens in different ink colors. A gob of them for just $20! Santa brought me a box for Christmas. I have a confession about me and fountain pens. They terrify me.

Let me explain. When I was in high school, I had a desire to write with a fountain pen. My uncle had one. His was sleek, black and gold. His handwriting was small and precise. The very act of pulling the cap off, revealing the shiny nib, was satisfying in a way I can’t really describe. I wanted one. Had to have one. Pestered my mother to buy one.

I finally got one and almost immediately was seriously disappointed. The inside of my middle finger on my right hand was constantly a dark blue. The ink seemed incapable of remaining in the pen. I was a magnet that drew from the depths of the ink cartridge, bypassing the paper and attaching it to my skin.

Not only that, but the pen came with tiny cartridges of ink that needed replacing more frequently than I would have imagined. That involved more fiddling with the ink that already had proved to be drawn to me, and not in a good way. The cartridges did away with the notion that I’d be utilizing an inkwell. My desire to collect antique inkwells seemed frivolous when I’d never need to use one.

Yet, I find myself once again desiring to own and use a fountain pen. Never mind the fact that I write on a laptop, not on paper. In my mind, I’ll pen all my work on a pad of exquisite paper with enchanting colors of ink. And I’ll worry about moving the words to paper later, as a necessity, not as a means of creating.

I get a Levenger catalog in the mail a few times a year, and they have a delicious array of fountain pens. I own a couple of Levenger ballpoint pens. Beautiful and functional, but not as intriguing as owning an assortment of their fountain pens. I can’t justify spending nearly $100 on a pen that will surely just aggravate instead of inspire me.

For the past two Decembers, a writer friend has posted pictures online of inks he gets in a holiday ink calendar. A color a day until Christmas day. They are scrumptious colors. Shimmery, brilliant colors. Some change colors in different tilts of the page, some are rich and lavish. All are colors I need in my writing life. Until I remember, I’m afraid of fountain pens.

I decided to watch a YouTube video on using and filling fountain pens. It seems what I don’t know about these wonders of writing technology is vast. There are different types of nibs, ink refilling systems, pens to use with ink wells, the angle you should hold the pen to the paper, the compatibility of cartridges with your pens, and so much more. (I will resist using the phrase ‘that’s just scratching the surface’ in deference to nibs everywhere.)

I now know that what I don’t know is sufficient to keep me merely longing for the fountain pen immersive experience. I won’t be buying a handsome oak display case for my pens nor finding space for an ever-growing assortment of inkwells. The learning curve seems steep, and I’m destined to admire them from afar.