Howdy! I wrote this piece yesterday for my blog and I thought it might be fun to post it here as well. :-)
I was thinking this past week over the themes that I think show up in almost every daily carry. Now, you might have more or less than five pens, but I bet that if you look carefully you will find these five pen archetypes showing up in your rotation regularly.
- The non-fountain pen
Let’s face it - as much as we all wish we could, we can’t use fountain pens for everything. Even if you are completely unfazed by the idea of marking up plywood with your Montblanc or smushing a soft gold nib into carbon-copy forms, you still need a loaner for those times when someone who doesn’t carry an assortment of writing instruments asks to borrow one of yours. Mine is a Fisher Space Pen, because I am a physicist and I need to be ready to write nerdy things at all times, even in zero gravity.
- The workhorse
The pen has seen it all. It goes everywhere with you because it can survive anything. Usually a sturdy plastic or metal, it once had a glossy finish. That has long been replaced with a unique “patina” of scratches and scuffs. You could pick this pen out of a pile of other people’s pens because it is such an extension of your hand. Like many other people, I have a Safari in this position because it seems (so far) to be impossible to kill.
- The attention grabber
This pen is a looker. Whether it has a pricey brand name attached to it or is just visually attractive, you grab this pen when you want people to take note of you taking notes. It’s a big pen, with a big nib to match. No way will someone mistake it for an inferior rollerball. If it’s a demonstrator then it does double duty by holding your attention while you watch your ink slosh back and forth instead of paying attention during that meeting. I like to use my TWSBI Vac 700 to make sure people know I mean business.
- The almost perfect
This pen is like that person that you dated and broke up with, dated and broke up with, over and over again. You love the idea of them, but it never quite works out in the long run. It could be your favorite pen, if it was just lighter, or had better ink capacity, or had a slip cap, or didn’t have that annoying clip, or… You will never get rid of this pen because you have a strange, irrational connection to it even though you never use it for more than a few lines. Instead you’ll just keep toting it around and staring at it wistfully, longing for what might have been. I’m looking at you, Lamy 2k in stainless steel…
- The one that just works
Continuing with the relationship analogy, this pen is the best friend that you fell in love with slowly and now you’ve been married for years. It might not be that flashy or have the smoothest nib, but this pen always works when you need it. When you reach into your pen case, this is the one you are looking for and when you forget it at home your whole day seems a bit darker. It’s the reason you got into using fountain pens in the first place, because at the end of the day it’s not about having a big collection or fancy calligraphy or trying every ink, it’s about taking the basic experience of writing to a higher level. This is my Pilot VP, and I know I will always have one in my carry because it just works.
What do you think? Do you have these five pens in your rotation, and if so, what are they?