A couple of weeks ago Freshly Pressed featured a post from odeevee (shown here) that explored a writer’s fascination with notebooks. Comments ensued, and before long I found myself browsing the Moleskines at the local Barnes and Noble, ultimately buying myself one to keep for a rainy day (along with a book of blank music paper. Every musician needs to have a book of blank music paper!). Some of the comments for his post broke away into a love/lust over pens, too, and soon I was checking out the eBay for Levengers, Mont Blancs, and other tools of the trade that I had somehow never tried before. Well, tonight I took the plunge: I now own a Yafa Icona ink cartridge fountain pen!
The Yafa, frankly, is a bit cheap, but it does allow me to try out a real fountain pen. It came with 7 ink cartridges of different colors, and has a “medium nib”, which means when you write with it there is a similar experience to writing with a medium point pen as opposed to a fine point or extra fine point. It has a pleasant heft to it, and even though it was only $13 or so at Office Depot it has a decent grip and a good feel. I had to insert the ink cartridge rather firmly into the nib, then squeeze just a bit in order to start the ink. Next came three or four scratches on a scrap paper, and it was flowing away and I was in business. Boy, do I feel literate now! I’ve never worked on one of these before…
One difference in writing with a fountain pen is the amount of pressure you push with against the paper. The Yafa only needs a very light touch, which is so different from a ballpoint or even a rollerball pen. It takes some getting used to, but after a couple of minutes it seemed very comfortable, and after a while I realized I was gripping the pen much more gently than I would have normally. One more little bonus: it is touch sensitive. By this I mean if you write lightly and gently you get a thinner line, but if you bear down and/or slow down you get a thicker, heavier line, to the point of almost making a mess. I suppose this should make you appreciate the neatness in pen and ink writing or drawing even more, as it takes a very even hand to keep the letters the same size and darkness on the page.
The gear junkie in me is in love, even though I know this is just a cheap, mass production fountain pen. I am afraid this will end up being like my golf game: I’m just one more driver away from chopping off 8 strokes! Hopefully I will have some time later to hit eBay and bag one of those Levenger Chesterton Silver Mist pens closing later tonight…! Wow, how cool would that look as I write my great American novel in my trusty Moleskine…!