The Visconti Opera in Black Guilloche (striped) pattern has – to my surprise – become one of my favourite pens. It is not the most handsome (even if it is
a beautiful pen) but it is such a great writer and flatters my handwriting with its stubbish, luscious nib, which was customized by a British nibmeister. The ink used here is Diamine Claret. Pink isn’t my usual fare, but this dark pink/cerise has a positive impact on me. It is hard to be real grumpy when writing with this ink. I mostly use it for letters, journalling and private notes. If you are curious about this pen you’ll find my review of it here
– in the review section at The Fountain Pen Network
, which is a pleasant site for people who like fountain pens. It is a great information source with loads of nice, helpful people sharing their knowledge, tips and photos – a friendly zone in cyber space. Before I landed there I didn’t have a clue about the vast amount of pens, brands, nibs, filling systems and inks that are possible to find out there – and that there are so many people over the world that are interested in pens, inks, papers and pen paraphernalia.
Even if I’ve always liked to write with a good pen – preferably a fountain pen – I hadn’t realized how big this sphere is and that I – a long time pen freak – am not alone in having this odd passion for pens. Using a fountain pen may seem like an anachronism in this digitalized, bic pen world – like a pose. I use it partly for the tactile pleasure, partly because it is more joy in writing with a beautiful pen, partly because my handwriting gets (because of the friction against the paper) more legible and stylish with a fountain pen and partly because the wide variety of inks – which contributes largely to this interest. Roller balls (which I prefer aside from fountain pens) are nice, but the variety in ink colours is so incredibly narrow – Blue, Black, Red and Green is as good as it usually gets. OK, one can use gel pens – Muji makes some very nice gel pens with a broad range of ink colours – which are very good in their class. The downside being that they are disposable, without any weight to them and that a little ball never can replace a fountain pen nib. They are accurate, but the feeling just isn’t there. When you write with a fountain pen you can choose the ink colour freely – depending on mood, purpose with the writing – regardless of brand (as long as it is ink made to be used in fountain pens). It surely offers a freedom – especially if you have a few pens – to be able to have the ink brand and colour of your pleasure in the pen that you like. Bottled ink (that can be used if you have a converter) has a low mileage and is very cheap to use (even the more exclusive ones) compared with roller ball refills and ink cartridges. But, aside from the economical aspect and the sustainability of fountain pens; it is not only that different inks gives variation to the writing, The nib contributes greatly to the variation. An ink can be perceived very differently depending on which nib it is used in. Another thing is the shading of the ink when you write with a fountain pen. It makes the text come alive in a beautiful way. Many don’t like shading when it comes to black inks – a black ink shall be opaque and deep black without any variation – but I like shading even in black inks. So, there is a huge world of pens and inks out there to explore.
When I got smitten by the fountain pen fever, via FPN over a year ago – before that I was just someone who preferred fountain pens – I got an urge to try as many pens and inks I could (afford) and had almost a year of wild buying, trying, selling, buying, trying, selling – which I am happy for – it was wonderful trying boatloads of different fountain pens from different brands – Aurora, Cleo Skribent, Conway Stewart, Delta, Lamy, Montblanc, Montegrappa, Pelikan, Pilot, Reform, Rotring, Sailor, Sheaffer, Visconti, Waterman – and different ink brands and colours. One real good thing about it is to learn what you really really like and want and let go of the things that don’t click with you to 100%. If I had kept all pens I buyed and tried I had become completely broke :). The second hand market for fountain pens – both at FPN and eBay – is large which is a good thing both for buying-for-trying and for selling off the pens that one doesn’t like. And – the depreciation of most quality fountain pens is much less compared to any other electronic device.
I actually bought a computer (used) and a Montblanc fountain pen for about the same amount of money at about the same time – just when I moved from home to begin at the University. My mum thought I was out of my mind – which I guess I was…at least a bit. I had worked quite hard for the money during the summer, so it was my money to spend and I badly wanted that Montblanc fountain pen. I guess the computer is fragmented into atoms now – but when I sold the pen a year ago I almost got the same amount of money as I paid for it. That being years later for a pen in used condition. The inflation hasn’t been so bad, so I guess I got about 75% of its original worth. After 10< years of use! That is not bad. So, even if it seemed weird at the time – the pen was the better buy in the long run. OK – I used the computer for writing papers and essays, so it got pretty much use, but anyway. I think it is a rather good story – a true one.
It is more to things than what meets the eye and sometimes the things that seem most irrational are the most rational – in the long end. I am very happy for that, actually. The Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf has written a great poem about the irrational being the most rational in the long run.I find that very hopeful.