Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Care and Feeding of Fountain Pens

Convenience is something at the heart of many efforts in this modern world of ours. I invoke it myself - for example in the convenience of carting around over 100 books on my Kindle. I'm never short of something to read.

Convenient, no?

Wireless networks - yes, the plural is needed, don't ask - running around the house because the printers - I know, another plural - need to be accessible by any of the computers - sigh - so no wires make things convenient.

Let's not talk about the wireless repeaters for remotes, nor wireless headphones either.

Modern technology makes many things convenient. In theory giving back time which we can put to good use. Or waste in an enjoyable and creative way.

In the midst of all this convenience is my fountain pen collection. Not actually in the midst, more standing apart from it. Were I to wish convenience I should have ballpoint pens, or rollerballs if I preferred a more "ink like" experience.

Fountain pens are not convenient. They run out of ink more frequently than the above-mentioned types of pens. Their nibs are more fragile. They need to be cleaned with some regularity or their ink delivery mechanism gets blocked.

But they are beautiful. They are functional works of art. They are personal, they actually shape themselves to your handwriting. The ritual of cleaning, inking, caring for them, has an appeal all of its own.

They. Slow. Me. Down.

And that, in the final analysis, is the best thing they do.

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