Fountain Pens

In an older post I wrote about the deterioration of the pen department at Pearl Paint in Manhattan, and speculated on the whereabouts of the beloved “Pen Guy” who worked there. Yesterday another former Pearl Paint Pen Guy commented. Which got me thinking about my pens, and writing.

I used to write at the computer (and before computers, at the typewriter). I learned to do this in my first journalism class in college. A journalist is supposed to interview, make notes, and sit down to write the news story. I hope that’s still true. At some point I stopped writing at the keyboard. I don’t remember when, exactly. During the year I spent in Great Barrington, MA, I lived alone and worked free-lance from my apartment. I started going to cafes to write, partly to have social interaction.

Now I mostly I write in a notebook, away from the house. Later, I type what I wrote, print it out, and take it with my notebook the next time I write. I know people who write an entire draft longhand, then type, but I’ve never tried it.

I use a fountain pen, although I can also use other pens without my words falling apart.

Non-computer user Howard Waldrop has an occasional blog on the Small Beer Press web site. Here he talks about the fountain pens he uses.

I have three fountain pens: Parker (top), Rotring—the fun one (left), and Waterman—the nice one (right). I rarely use the Waterman, which is a mistake because it wants to be used. It’s a nice pen, and I’m afraid of losing it if I take it out. I did lose my Parker but replaced it via eBay. I bought the original Parker from the Pen Guy for $10. It was a closeout that he thought I needed (and he was right). The last time I remember having it was at the Flight Path Cafe in Austin, a day after the 2006 World Fantasy Convention, and a day before meeting Howard for coffee.

A wine rep who sells to the Emporium in Yellow Springs is also a collector of vintage fountain pens. He is unimpressed by my modern pens, even the Waterman. I’m interested in the more finely-crafted vintage instruments and might like to own one some day, but I’m happy with what I have.


3 thoughts on “Fountain Pens

  1. I discovered that my university bookstore offered rather cheap fountain pens for sale, and I used them for several years for re-writing my college notes. Although I haven’t used them for years, those pens instilled a love for them in me; today I don’t own any fountain pen, but I would love to buy a Mont Blanc or two. 😉 The only disappointment I had with them was that the ink smeared way too easily if the paper got wet.

  2. Hi Robert,

    Came over to witness the laconic in action. It’s not the ones you have, it’s what you do with them, isn’t it? But it is fun having a good pen. I miss my Rotring–fit my hand perfectly–but now I have a punchy retro-red Levenger fountain pen. (My husband has oodles that he uses at work on a daily basis. Can’t read that writing, though!)

  3. Robert Freeman Wexler

    Laconic action is kind of like watching tortoises in the 100 meter dash, so come back again eventually…

    I accidentally put the Parker away and kept the Waterman out and didn’t realize it till I was using it. Which was obviously a sign to take it out for exercise.

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