The case for fountain pens

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In a digital age with laptops and tablets, writing with pen and paper feels like a distant pastime reserved for exams and in-class assignments. The art of lettering or handwriting are for special occasions and fancy signs or invitations. It's true, I'm writing about this on a blog - a form that is most definitely digital and typed with a keyboard. Yet, when it comes to brainstorming ideas or taking notes in class, I feel more at ease with a pen and sheet of paper — or in my case, a fountain pen.


You might be asking, "What?! Who owns fountain pens nowadays, let alone uses them in their day-to-day lives? Why on earth would you use a fancy fountain pen that costs $50, plus the cost of ink (anywhere from $8-25 a bottle), instead of a pen from my 500-Bic-pen-pack that includes ink and costs $5?" It sounds a little crazy, but hear me out.


At first, a pen is just that — a writing instrument for a quick thought. When something's written down in ink though, real ink, suddenly that thought isn't just a scribble. It's a little part of what's inside your head. A quick addition question is suddenly a proof. A sketch is a work of art. Class notes become theses and essays. There's a sense of magic that comes with writing with a fountain pen. This is a pretty silly point, but it honestly feels like you're someone important.


In addition to that, when a high quality nib (the tip of the fountain pen where ink comes out and touches the paper) meets a high quality paper, suddenly your pen is gliding across the paper. The ink flows freely, and the ideas themselves seem to flow effortlessly as well. This all sounds very romantic, but I'm serious. While it's all fine and dandy that you can get 500 sheets of lined paper for a dollar, nothing beats writing on a Rhodia or Clairfountaine pad of paper. It's hard to explain how it actually feels, but once you try it, regular paper feels scratchy and cheap.


So the big thing it comes down to is the price. As a student, I get it, we don't have much money as it is. Why would we seemingly throw away our money on a hobby that's mostly based around romanticism and luxury?  Honestly, I have nothing in response for that other than the fact I believe that everyone should splurge on a luxury every once in a while. Fountain pens are a luxury and I know it, but sometimes you have to have that small taste of the unnecessary. Maybe for you it's a fancier meal every once in a while, or that piece of clothing you've been eyeing for a while. Maybe it's a nice set of cleats for running, or even just a Starbucks coffee. For me, it's a bottle of Noodler's ink, or a nice pad of paper. You can actually buy fountain pens for no more than the price of two Starbucks drinks.


If all of this sounds intriguing, next time you're in the SLC, drop by the Imprint office. I can't promise that I'll be there, or that I'll let you try my favourite pen (a TWSBI Diamond 580 at the moment), but you can be sure I'll let you try some of my other pens and a variety of paper! I have to warn you though, once you start buying fountain pens and inks, it's hard to stop spending money on this beautiful hobby.


Still interested? Check out next week's post where I'll go over some student-friendly priced fountain pens, my favourite inks, and some decently priced quality paper.
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