Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fountain Pen Fascination

I am fascinated with fountain pens and have been ever since I read Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg the first time. I've read that book a half-dozen times now, and it still manages to impart inspiration. The first chapter deals with the tools of the trade. Fast writing pens. In 1986, when the book was first published, that still meant fountain pens.

Now, I admit. There are two types of stores that I must visit only when I have lots of time so that I can wander up and down every blasted aisle. Hardware stores and office supply/stationery stores. Love 'em! Fountain pens were too expensive to be found around here - that is until one fateful day. Staples. Central and Osborne. Parker, for a too-short period of time, put out a CHEAP plastic fountain pen (the Reflex) that took easy to find ink cartridges. I bought three.

That started it all.

I now follow over a dozen blogs that feature fountain pens and ink in their posts. Reviews are eagerly devoured by yours truly. Then I started looking at buying and collecting. Big bucks that I don't have. Then I ran across the Hero pen from China. It seems China is still using fountain pens in a big way and Hero copies designs from other companies including the all-time classic Parker 51. I ordered three as they were all under five dollars each.

Next the ink. The hubby had an old bottle of India ink. Little did I know that this was WRONG to use. It has a shellac base that is for dip pens only. The ink dried in my poor little Heros and jammed them up. I found my answers online. (I don't know what I'd do without the internet.) After a trip to Arizona Art Supply, I was set with a nib cleaner as well as Pelikan Brilliant Black ink and Windsor & Newton Indian Red and Blue Black inks. While the Windsor & Newton colors are gorgeous, the Pelikan works the best for fine nib Hero pens in dry Arizona. Arizona Art Supply has a huge sale October 3rd at their new location. I'll be there looking at Pelikan inks for sure.

Next, I search for the “perfect” journal. Moleskine? Probably not. Romantic, but too expensive.