Writing Tools

by Stuart Lennon

In 2001, I bought a Montblanc. Actually, I bought three. A set comprising a mechanical pencil, a ballpoint and a fountain pen. It was the Charles Dickens limited edition set.

For several years, I held onto these as a sort of totem, a corporate badge of honour. I still have them now.

Then, in 2016, I rediscovered writing. I actually started using the pen for what it was designed for. I loved it. I was hooked.

Quickly, I began exploring and acquiring new fountain pens. The learning curve was... no, is, steep.

What a joy it is to learn that I need not be condemned to using horrible roller balls, ballpoints and pencils, like some sort of animal. How good it is to be a member of an exclusive club?

Do you know? There’s even a podcast about pens. I eagerly listened to my first episode; but, but... they were talking about sharpies, gel pens, fine liners and fountain pens! They even talked about another podcast all about pencils. Pencils! You know, the things that you use at school! The very thought!

This was all very disconcerting. I needed to investigate more. It seems there might be more to writing equipment than big fancy fountain pens.

The greatest revelation came then. There is as much joy in a simple wooden pencil as there is in a gold-nibbed fountain pen. Is one better than the other? That’s a matter of opinion, of use case, and maybe even of mood.

I’m drafting this with a pencil, but will soon switch to a fountain pen to fill in my journal before I go to bed. I'll enjoy both.

I have pencils, ballpoints (there are some really good ones!), rollerballs and fountain pens.

I’m still learning, but I have begun to understand the hobby. The real joy, for me, is not in the acquisition, is not in the collecting or owning, it is in the using. For me the joy is in enjoying the tools and process.

Oh - and I like talking about it too. TJ Cosgrove and I have a chat every week. Swing on by.