I bought myself an early birthday present: a fountain pen. I’ve been wanting a fountain pen for some time, but I didn’t know much about them. I wanted it mainly for my journal writing. I’ve been using a Pilot G-2 0.7 pen for my journal since late 2017. I mentioned to someone a while back how my cursive writing never looks as nice as other examples I see online. “Are you using a fountain pen?” they asked. I guess I thought a fountain pen would make my handwriting look nicer.
I did what anyone would do in this situation: research. And by research, I mean I called my friend Ken who collects fountain pens, and whose bullet journal looks like a work of art. He asked me a bunch of questions and then gave me a detailed list of what to look for, what matters, what makes a good pen, along with some recommendations.
For my first fountain pen (I say my first because fountain pens are like books, and multiply rapidly, I am told) I bought a Pilot Custom 74 (black smoke in color) with a fine nib. I got the gold nib because I was told it wrote more smoothly than the steel one. I ordered the pen from Goulet Pens and had it in my hands just a few days after I’d ordered it.
Being a novice at all of this, I ordered it with box of a dozen Pilot Namiki black in cartridges. When I told this to my friend Ken, he suggested I order a bottle of ink next time and fill the pen myself. It will last longer than way, he said, and it is a better experience. I also learned that I needed to clean the pen.
My first attempt at inserting the ink cartridge resulted in a splash of ink of my desk, and my pants. (“When using a fountain pen for the first time, squeeze the inserted cartridge firmly to get the ink flowing down to the nib” the instructions said. I guess we have different definitions of “firmly.”)
When I tried writing, I assumed you held the pen so that the open part of the nib faced upward, but that didn’t work. Turning it around worked, and my-oh-my was that some smooth writing.
The pen arrived on Thursday, and so far, I’ve written about 2-1/2 pages in my journal using it. I’m getting used to it, and I like the feel of it. But I do have a confession to make:
So far, it has not altered my handwriting in the least.
I’m not looking for handwriting that is quite as uniform as, say John Quincy Adams was in some of his diary entries. But something a little better than how mine currently looks. In truth, my handwriting varies by day, and by how fast or slowly I write. I try to slow myself down, and when I do that, I like how my handwriting looks, but it’s hard to keep going at the pace with my mind racing ahead.
In any case, I’ve now joined the insufferable ranks who incessantly praise the virtues of the fountain pen above all other pens. I have yet to clean my fountain pen, so those virtues may be limited. But I am enjoying the experience thus far.