broken pens: two years of a fleeting ripple
I shared my first blog post on February 2nd, 2022, making the last Thursday the second anniversary of this blog. So, I’ve been thinking about why I wrote about pens and why I started collecting pens. The main force behind my collection is curiosity. I want to try out a new pen, a cool new material, new nibs… Combined for the need of comfort over long writing sessions, I have mostly figured out what I like and have been really focusing my collection.
Some people say that they are collectors for something; they collect urushi pens or Franklin Cristoph’s or Safari’s. I collect my pens. I collect the pens I am interested in and I find comfortable. It tends to lead to smaller or mid-sized pens, Opus 88 being a bit of an outlier, and cool colours. I like my fancy colours and demonstrator pens. If a pen has to be black, it needs to have a gold trim, I do not like the chrome trim on a black pen. Demonstrators are the coolest, and I love piston or vac fillers.
The actual “completed collections” aspect of the fountain pens has never appealed to me, I do not try to collect all the colours of a pen model. At most, I’ll try to collect all the colours of a pen model that are pretty to me. Kaweco Sport’s are a nice example of that, where the Kaweco Collection has been coming out with really cool colours, and I have been loving them. Though, the AL-Sport’s colours do not appeal to me, and I’m happy with the one I have.
I do “baby” my pens a little bit, I carry them in their little Galen Leather case when I take them out. It’s not because I am afraid of cracks and scratches, but I like my pens a lot and spend a lot of money on them. I want them to stay as clean and as usable as possible. It seems pretty natural to me to care about a tool that you use on a daily basis and wanting to protect it.
My tastes do change, and they tend to change slowly over time, rarely getting caught up in FOMO in fountain pens. Inks on the other hand, are a whole another story. I do buy new inks and I will buy inks for the fancy branding that appeals to me. A fancy branding won’t make me buy an ink colour that I do not like or won’t really use, but if the ink colour already appeals to me, I will most certainly buy it. Or if I like all of them, I will try to pick and choose (looking at Colorverse Season 7). A lot of thought goes into what I buy and when I buy it, leading to very rare impulse purchases. If they do happen, they’re mostly over at Pen_Swap on Reddit, buying pens I like with different nibs or colours, or looking for a deal on a pen that I’ve been wanting to buy for a very long time anyway. Or selling pens I did not reach for in a while.
The reason why I started writing this blog is simple. I love reading even more than fountain pens, and when I first discovered the plethora of blogs out there, I read pretty much all of them. I’m sure I read The Pen Addict from first post to the last, a tab was open on my computer for over a year. The Gentleman Stationer too. With the amount of time I spent on thinking about pens, looking for them and researching, I wanted to share it in a way. I started with writing letters to talk to other fountain pen people. Then, I wanted to do more. I think about it a little like a chronicle of my pen adventures (adpentures?). Writing has been as integral to me as breathing since I learned how to write, so it was only a matter of time that it would lead to a fleeting ripple.
Thank you for being here and reading for two years. I still cannot believe that people like reading my ramblings about fountain pens, and it has been amazing to write for you.
There are two things that I have never talked about on here. The pens I have broken. There are two. I know, I know, I can feel the horrified expressions through the screen. In my defence I, personally, have only broken one and the other one is just a really funny story. So, let me start with the former.
I had bought a pen that fit a #10 Pilot nib with a body of Chinese Urushi off of Pen_Swap. The price was great even if it was for the nib, so I did not really hesitate. The problem was that the threads on the body were broken off once and they were held together with glue. It worked and the pen was in a decent condition otherwise. I used it with no problems for over six months. The fine-medium nib wrote beautifully and it was my daily carry for a while because I did not care much for the condition of the body. I carried it everywhere.
Until one sweltering August morning. I reached for the cap, which was clipped through one of those elastic loops in pen cases, and took it out. Only the cap with the section came off, the body was still through the loop. I took it out, looked at the threads and they were gone. Probably it broke off due to all the temperature and humidity changed that come with august heat waves and high power air conditioners. The pieces were long gone, with no hope of gluing them together. I kind of just cleaned the pen and brought it back home. Maybe one day I’ll just get a pen done where the section fits.
The second one is a Kaweco Sport that I had gotten for a friend. She was interested in fountain pens because I kept bringing all my fancy ones to the office and talking about them. Then, on another August day, I got a text saying that “I cannot open the cap, it got stuck.” Honestly, I was kind of surprised, Kaweco Sport is practically indestructible, and getting the cap stuck after being soaked in water for a while is interesting to say the least.
She brought the pen over next time, and we tried opening it. It did not work. We ran it under boiling water, and some ink ran off, but not nearly enough to un-stick the cap. In the end, my partner and I decided to get the pen and take it to the workshop to try to open it. Our friend told us that as long as it gets opened, she did not care much about what might happen. The pen got clamped on the table and we started turning it. And turning it.
And we turned it some more. Turns out, our friend wasn’t sure which way the cap unscrewed and she tried both ways. With the heat and sand on the beach, the cap got stuck and the plastic softened. Somehow, this girl managed to carve new threads onto the body of the pen and the ink glued it shut.
I was hesitant to facilitate her getting a new pen, but I hope she’ll be a bit more careful this time. And no, I will not be giving her pen back, simply because it is funny and I like having it on my desk to admire. It is a precious part of my pen cup now.
All in all, I probably handled well over 100 pens in my 4 years of fountain pen collecting and only two mishaps seem fine. Fountain pens had also started as a hobby in February, when my partner got me my Lamy AL-Star as a Valentine’s Day gift. Perhaps it’s to fight the last of the winter blues with the most colourful inks and pens.
Thank you so much for reading, this post was partly inspired by A Gathering of Curiosities's post. I was super excited to see that I’d been writing this blog for such a long time. It still feels like it’s super new. Anyway, I hope the pictures are still ok, the weather is terrible in here and the light seems to be a scarcer than anything else. And, lastly, I hope you enjoyed a bit of pen gore.