• A Fleeting Ripple

#50: parker jotter (xl)

An old air conditioner is not enough to battle August heat in the Mediterranean. Its roar is deafening, without helping much about the humidity in the room. It does give a steady flow of air that’s cooler than outside though. The curtains dance to the wind that branches of the trees cannot. Old velvet armchairs just add to the stuffy air, searing your skin and absorbing your sweat. Small spiders crawl every now and then on the walls, stark against the whitewash. Newly woven webs everywhere, merging with older ones, collecting dust and mosquitos alike.


The reason why this blog is called a “fountain pen blog” is that I do not like using ballpoints, but since it’s a hot and stuffy summer day, I’m making a change and writing with an ink that my sweaty hand cannot smear. Ballpoints generally hurt my hand because of the pressure that they need to write and the almost 90 degrees angle that you have to hold them in. On the contrary, my writing angle is pretty low and putting pressure on the pen hurts my overextended wrist. I wrote the writing sample of this blog post yesterday and had to give myself a day without any computer or pen use to recover the full comfortable use of my hand.


Ballpoints are a necessary tool in every pencil case, offering much more versatility and much less joy than a fountain pen. The oil based ink does not bleed through the wood pulp paper that cheap paperbacks (those seem to be making a regular appearance during my holidays) tend to use. This thinner and less solid line is also suitable for sketching, even though most people prefer the Bic Crystal for its even more unreliable and blobby line.


I tend to carry a Parker Jotter Chelsea Orange, either in a pencil case or thrown in a beach bag. It comes with a smooth 1.0 (M) Quinkflow ballpoint refill that is mostly a solid and a reliable writer. The construction of the body itself is a lightweight aluminium and the dimensions much smaller than I had expected. That’s not a big problem for underlining books or jotting down quick notes, but it is uncomfortable to use for a long writing session; especially if you tend to hold the pen further down, almost from the tip. Fortunately, this small and light pen is great to keep in a bag to carry around as it is exceptionally durable as well. I had mine for two years and even after being carried in the same bag pocket with my keys it doesn’t have large scratches. There are a few small ones that almost blend into the brushed aluminium finish, they’re only visible if you spend a good while searching for them.


Since my boyfriend has larger hands than I do, he had gotten the newer Parker Jotter XL size in a monochrome Matte Black finish. It comes with the exact same refill. The XL’s barrel is heaver, thicker and longer. The weight felt a bit too much for me, but the extra thickness did make the pen a little more comfortable. The worst part about the XL was that the refill seemed to rattle, whereas there was no such problem in the regular size. Perhaps the larger tip didn’t hold the refill as securely. My boyfriend also asked me to include his grievances about the clip, as it is too sharp to clip onto any type of fabric. It does leave marks on sot cardboard book covers as well. My problem with the pen was that the tips of both barrels started wearing off, unmasking the raw aluminium underneath. I was surprised by this as the brushed aluminium of the regular Jotter seemed extremely durable.


The only time I really have to use ballpoints is during an exam and it necessitates an equally smooth, but much more comfortable pen. My choice for that is the Pilot Acroball. Therefore Parker Jotter’s use is strictly limited to being carried around in my bag and only for short notes. Or perhaps a fidgeting pen. Nevertheless, the satisfying click will cover both of those scenarios.



This is the 50th post I’m writing. I can’t believe that I wrote that many! Thank you so much for reading this post and so many others before. Here’s to many more!