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  • A Fleeting Ripple

to sell a pen (or a pun): pilot custom 912

& horrible puns i cannot stop myself from making

A pool of sunlight slowly moves from the wall to the bed as the day progresses, warming up your skin as you work. The chilly breeze from the open window stirs the curtains around, not enough to cool down the house. It’s a balmy late summer weather where your body wants to be outside and bask in the last rays of the sunlight and your mind knows that it has to catch up on schoolwork. It’s a tough call but with teachers to impress and a brand new course, you stay inside. Pull out your pens and notebooks and the brand new article to read: we have work to do.

There are some pens that show up in your life when you need them. That was Pilot Custom 912 for me. It was my second Pilot pen and my first pen with a more exciting nib: a soft fine. I had gotten it mostly out of curiosity and a need for change in the writing experience without changing too much the round fine nibs that I was used to. A soft transition, if you will. The fine nib on my Vanishing Point is pretty soft and I wanted to compare the both. The flat top body and the comfortable size was a bonus, though I wasn’t so sure about the rhodium trim on a black pen. I much prefer the gold & black as it seems more elegant opposed to business-ness of the rhodium.

When the pen first arrived, I couldn’t find an ink to put into it. I try to find inks that show the nib’s qualities and in return the nib should show off the ink. With a wonderfully wet nib like this, I gravitated towards slightly lighter blues that shaded nicely, even though none of them stuck. Oranges, pinks purples. None of the inks seemed satisfactory, none made me go “This is a wonderful match!” This was the pen I was looking at the time: with a soft, bouncy, thick fine nib. It was inked all the time with different inks, almost never used. The inks started drying up in the nib, bringing hard starts and nib crud. After the Great Reconsideration of this summer, it was time.

It was time to sell a well-loved pen.

Luckily, I already had a buyer. My boyfriend had fallen in love with the pen at first sight and watched me growing tired of this pen. He offered to buy it from me and I put one condition: I could borrow it on loan if it wasn’t inked. So… Perhaps it was a little cruel to snatch it from the infamous “drying rack” right after cleaning to write this post about it.

It wasn’t inked at the time, right?

The main reason I wanted to use this pen for one last time was to understand what went wrong. Why I ended up not liking this pen in the end? Without the guilt of owning a pen that I wasn’t using, everything seemed clearer. The first thing I realised was that soft nibs are not enjoyable at this point in my life. My needs are much more focused on using the pens on a daily basis rather than leisure writing like it used to be. I started a philosophy course that requires a lot more reading and writing than before and I couldn’t be happier with a pair of hard nibbed Sailor’s… and a bottle of ink in my bag because that converter… Even in my journaling and letter writing, I’ve been preferring stiffer nibs like the Lamy 2000 or a regular Jowo #6.

The second thing was the thickness of the lines. I love thin Japanese fines and a little thicker Western fines. Since both are great, I’d love something right in the middle? Nope. Due to the softness of the nib, the pen writes thicker than a regular fine nib, but thinner than a medium. I’ll put a few nib comparisons in the end to show what I mean. Apparently I do not like that line width. I reach for my pens with medium nibs more often than the soft fine. Add the smoothness of the nib to the softness and you have a nib that writes like a butter stick on a hot pan (yes, I’ve been cooking a lot). Uncontrolled. The nib glides on the page and you have to chase after it.

The nib and I might’ve not gotten along very well, but that doesn’t mean it is not a great nib. Just look at my boyfriend that’s so happy with his new pen that he went through a whole CON-70 converter in two days.

On the other hand, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on what I like and don’t like in a pen and have been putting up pens -that I loved before- up for sale. The reasons differ from pen to pen; sometimes it’s the fit in my hand that I don’t enjoy anymore, sometimes it’s the nib I grew out of. What I like in a pen isn’t definitive. The only constant is that my taste is constantly evolving and my collection evolves with it. I don’t buy pens to let them sit on a shelf all pretty and behind a glass. I take them to school, to the library, to the cafe; on planes, trains, cars. For me, the pens are made to be used and used constantly. That’s not to say that my taste can shift again and I’ll acquire a new-found appreciation for softer nibs in the future. When that happens, I’ll put up pens that I don’t enjoy anymore up for sale and look for new pens to try out. For example, I’m taking a well-deserved break from super colourful pens at the moment. All of my recent purchases have been either crystal clear demonstrators or shiny black pens. I’m not selling all of my acrylic pens though, only the ones that I haven’t used in a while and don’t plan to. It happens. I believe that change is inherently good and it ends up for the better.

My love is for stationery, not stationary.

Since I got that pun out of my system, I’ll show myself out. It’s the natural state of collections to be in a constant state of flux, new stuff coming in and old leaving. That’s the difference between a well-rounded collection and a hoard. My books and inks are a bit of a hoard, hence my handle being “bookdragon” on certain platforms. That’s mostly because they’re almost impossible to sell. Even then, I try to send off sampled with letters and donate books. Anyway. Sell your pens. Share your inks. Give your favourite book to the kid next door. Make sure the things you own are making you happy instead of anxious. Life is stressful enough without your hobbies adding to it -that’s directed to the Calathea in the corner that I decided to chop up completely.

Thank you for reading!



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