In 1995, I was in my second last year of elementary school (which is known as primary school) in Uganda (East Africa, for those who have no idea). That was the last time I used a fountain pen. At the time, perhaps due the colonial education system that my homeland inherited from Britain, some schools demanded that kids use fountain pens! A few had rich parents who could afford the real stuff, but the rest of us used Japanese knock-offs and Chinese pens. Their refilling systems were a rubber tube (sac) that you had to press several times upon dipping the pen in the ink bottle. Many were toothy and others ran like the river Nile. I hated them- didn’t understand why we had to use them. Schools authorities argued that they would help kids with bad handwriting to write better. I was one of those kids- to this day, most people, including my mother and wife, have a hard time reading my scribbling.
Fast forward 23 years later (this summer), I found myself in Edmonton, and felt the urge to use fountain pens again. Still cannot tell why, but I know that for quite a long time, I’ve been particular with the kind of pens I use. I love writing by hand, and making handwritten notes of my readings. It turns out the feel of the pen on paper, and how the ink appears are important parts of how I prefer to experience writing. I also HATE (not a word I use lightly) ballpoint pens. The Pilot G2, 0.7 mm Gel Pen has been my go-to instrument for close to 8 years- I exclusively used it during graduate school right until August this year. I still love that pen, but there comes a time when a man/woman outgrows some things (I am looking at you, Honda Civic). Fountain pens to me, then, seem like a natural progression. So I went and got myself a Lamy Safari.
Looking back, fountain pens, at least in the context that they were introduced to me, are not so far removed from my academic work and personal interest today. Though to be sure, only to the extent that they remind me of my colonial educational experience: I am currently occupied with anticolonial education, decolonisation, and the politics of knowledge production- studying colonialism and advocating for native/indigenous epistemologies and intellectual traditions in colonized spaces.
Did I mention that come next year, I might need an upgrade? Just for special occasions. Suggestions are welcome. Budget: 140 USD— I am aware that this low in some circles, but I am O.K with it. While I appreciate good looks, I am more of a functional than an aesthetic user. Smooth writing, right out of the box is my main thing.
- Lamy Safari (pink)
- TWSBI VAC700R
- Noodler's V-mail North African Violet (everyday writing)
- Pelikan Edelstein Jade (beautiful ink— when I want inspiration to write beautiful prose)
- Pilot iroshizuku tsutsuji (for my love of pink, in all its forms)
Happy writing and collecting,
Edited by Azania, 14 September 2018 - 19:55.