Why a good pen is like a nice umbrella

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Image via (((o.kvlt)))

I am one of those people who is constantly misplacing pens… I put them in my bag, in my pocket; I take them out, put them somewhere else, and pretty soon they’re gone. It’s one of the reasons I’m hesitant to let my fountain pens leave the controlled chaos of my desk, because it’s one thing to misplace an inexpensive Pilot V-Ball, and quite another to lose my pretty Waterman Phileas, or one of my Pelikanos.

For environmental reasons, however, I’m trying to cut back on the number of disposable things in my life, and there’s no reason pens shouldn’t be a part of that effort.

Generally, I believe that when it comes to organization, it’s best to work around your habits rather than trying to overhaul them all at once. But then I think about umbrellas. I used to lose them all the time, too, until I spent a year in England and decided that enough was enough. So I went to a department store and bought a pretty black-and-red umbrella for the princely sum of £18. I was a graduate student at the time, and it wasn’t an easy decision. But it’s been 8 years since then, and I still haven’t lost that umbrella.

Anyway, I’m going to start small, and keep one of my less expensive fountain pens in the pocket of my bag. If that goes well, maybe it’ll be easier to use them in other non-deskbound settings. Here’s hoping!

9 thoughts on “Why a good pen is like a nice umbrella

  1. On occasion I do carry an expensive pen on me. Weddings, yearly family events on the coast here in North Carolina, etc…But, to be honest; I slip the nice pen into my pocket as an accessory to compliment my nice clothes for these events… Just as a lady would wear a nice brooch or an old family ring. One of my favorites is a Waterman, red-marbled Phileas rollerball. On VERY special occasions I will sport a nice fountain pen. Signing legal documents, guest books at funerals and such. But one thing I’m very conscious of is the ink color: legal black for documents or “fun” colors for festive events… I’ve never lost one of these fine pens because I’m very aware that I’m “wearing” it. Along the same lines, I collect nice soaps from around the world and never used them. Just admired them. Then I decided that I can’t truly enjoy the soaps unless I use them! My point is: if you pay good money for something fine, enjoy it… That’s why you got it in the first place…Cheers, LeRoy

  2. @Aaron Heh. I read Julie’s comment and thought, “I have a Varsity!” and decided to start with that. I’m hoping to work my way up to a Safari or something. Old (klutzy) habits die hard!

  3. I take a middle position. I carry my medium nib Phileas with me everywhere except on airplanes. My other fountain pens leave the desk only rarely. I would be devastated if I lost my fine nib Charleston, so that goes out with me only on a few occasions.

  4. I carry a Pilot Varsity in my purse, so I always have a fountain pen, that I’m not afraid to lose.

    I also carry higher end pens in my tote, but they are alway in a pen case.

  5. Thanks for this post, Leah. I too am reluctant to take expensive fountain pens outside the house. Not that I have uber-expensive fountain pens but, to lose a good pen is unthinkable. So, I pack a Safari and maybe a Preppy and that is all I need. And, as Patrick mentioned, it is more eco-friendly to use refillable pens.

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