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Happiness: or How I Learnt to Stop Collecting and Start to use the Pen


pakifistinyomouf
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Happiness: or How I Learnt to Stop Collecting and use the Pen

 

About half a decade ago--I purchased a Namiki vanishing point. I cannot remember what prompted the purchase that particular model. I do remember that I wanted a fountain pen ever since asking my father about the Parker 75 that was ubiquitously placed on the kitchen counter every breakfast. “I wrote all my exams in medical school with it. My brother gave it to me.”

 

Dad promised me the pen if I got into medical school. When I gained admission years later--I decided I couldn’t ask dad for the pen and conveniently let him believe I had forgotten the agreement. It was the only possession I’d ever seen him sentimentally attached to--I couldn’t rob my father of that.

 

When the vanishing point arrived in the mail--I became drunk with the euphoria of ownership. This was THE last pen I’d ever need to buy. Whatever happens in life--my girlfriend could leave me, my condo could burn down--I had the ultimate writing tool in my hot little hands. I had the “what pen should I get” question taken care of forever. I hid the cost of purchase from my parents. I could never have them believe how much I had spent on a pen. I was happy with it.

 

That’s when I discovered the community. At first--I intellectually defended my happiness--and lashed out. I trolled the boards--writing intelligently presented manifestos dissecting the dismal emotional economics of the fountain pen collector.

 

I argued based on the economic principle of decreasing marginal utility--that each successive purchase of fountain pens diminished the overall happiness of the collector--and that the collector was consumed by the “hungry ghost”; blindly believing that ownership of more and more pens would fill or complete whatever aching flaw in their soul they needed to compensate for. My view of fountain pen collecting as a degeneracy/pathology didn’t gain me many friends in the fountain pen community--so I left and stopped posting.

 

I was so smug in the wooly cotton comfort that is the infancy of a fountain pen collector--so so naive and oblivious to my future of becoming the very same person I condemned.

 

But such innocence is hard to hold onto. I still remember when I started to go all wrong...

 

After a particularly stressful exam--I decided to reward myself. I purchased a Namiki Vanishing Point Raden. Why not add some crushed abalone shells and a finer nib? I deserve it. I’m working hard--and dont have any other dependencies or addictions like my classmates. I wasn’t drinking. I wasn’t in turbulent relationships. Such was my justification..tipping me over the edge of a slippery slope.

 

But this purchase didn’t satisfy me. Now I was conflicted and would spend my normally reflective morning walk second guessing myself if I had brought the right pen with me to class today.

 

Soon as I made that purchase--something inside me unlocked and I spiraled out of control. The Namiki Vanishing Point Radan was a gateway pen. Now I needed harder and more exotic pens to get my fix.

 

A vintage parker 51 vacumatic made in 1947--because nothing else was supposed to match the writing experience. An out of production Rotring 600 for when I needed to feel like Rambo(but only the old styled body, not the Newton because everyone on the forums says the knurled grip is fantastic and that it is constructed to tighter tolerance specifications) because they were indestructable and could double as ice-picks, weapons, and automotive part replacement if the rear axle of your truck cracked. A new Decimo to replace my now clearly obsolete Raden vanishing point, because it was a few grams lighter and a mm smallar in diameter. A Lamy Vista with a large oblique nib--to fill with noodler’s firefly ink because now that I had cool pens I couldn’t use a regular highlighter. Wow--a new highlighter well I can’t use a regular bic pencil--better buy a matching Rotring 600 0.9mm leadholder.

 

But I wasn’t happy. In fact I only wanted to consume more and more. What happened to me? I used to be so happy with the first pen I purchased--the namiki vanishing point; black with gold trim. I didn’t even use it anymore. And oh god--the inks. I had a drawer filled with different colors and brands--blacks, reds, turqoises; noodlers, parker, scheaffer, namiki...

 

It was then that I realized I was chasing the feeling of satisfaction and sentimentality that my dad had for his parker 75. I couldn’t handle collecting these pens--the hobby was consuming my time through the forums, and my disposable income.

 

It was then I decided that the best thing to do would be to give away the pens I didn’t use anymore. I started with the original pen I purchased--the black vanishing point with gold trim. I gave it to my friend Michelle. She always had a small crush on me--but we were always busy with school or in other relationships so never got serious. She appreciated the gift--the pen will be loved and give her much joy. I had to grin when she punched me in the arm and playfully scolding me about the days I wouldn’t even lend her my pen because I didn’t want her to “mess up the nib’s memory” when we first sat in a cafe together and played wordgames on a napkin.

 

Next I gave the Namiki raden to my sister. She takes it to the office, but is careful not to leave it alone on the desk. She knows the abalone shells playing off the light make it tempting to borrow.

 

It was then that I realized, although I was happier as a result of gifting those I cared about with the great joy that is writing with fountain pens--that true durable fullfillment would only come from true detachment from these pens. True detachment would only come when having, or not having a collection of fountain pens couldn’t effect me. Ideally--I should be able to put a pen down, and be content that it exists and that it is there if I need it. If it ceased to exist, it shouldn’t affect me--however I should not actively go out of my way to renounce my possession of great tools of writing. I shouldn’t have to destroy the pens or give them away to escape their enslavement.

 

I believe I have finally transitioned from naive infancy stage of fountain pen collector to the frantinc collector consumed by the “hungry ghost” to simply a man who is aware of the great many different and wonderful pens out there. And that is the true measure of happiness I gained from fountain pens--the ability to appreciate a fine writing instrument. I have finally overcome my desire to possess and own them all, as well as my fear that I will once again become addicted to collecting when I pick one up. I have stopped shuddering when handed a bic when asked to sign a receipt--yet still do the majority of my writing with fountain pens.

 

I would like to believe that fountain pens have stopped controlling me.

 

This letter is an open pact with the world. I will never purchase another fountain pen for as long as I live. I am free.

 

S.U.H.

 

 

 

 

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Hell, that was the most enjoyable piece of writing I've seen here yet. And to think you did it with a keyboard... :rolleyes:

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And it was his first post, too! Something to aspire to?

Kudzu

 

"I am a galley slave to pen and ink." ~Honore de Balzac

 

Happy Pan Pacific Pen Club Member!
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Hmm. Sounds like someone who has never switched pens and ink colors for inspiration. Or needed to keep 5 pens loaded for the day's production...

 

I love my beautiful tools. Like musical instruments, each has a different "voice". Which is why, when I see/hear/feel another voice I want for my chorus, I buy!

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If "pakifistinyomouf" is really free of his pens, we have seen his first, last, and only posting on FPN; in this case, I congratulate him on discovering that he is not a fountain pen collector, and I wish him well.

 

If he is not free of his pens, he is either deceiving himself -- in which case I hope he discovers his true relationship (or lack thereof) to pens -- or he is a prolix and very clever troll.

 

I think I'll sit back and see what develops. This could be fun. :)

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I think this thread should be pulled.

It's heresy.

Edited by artaddict

Watermans Flex Club & Sheaffer Lifetime Society Member

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"I would like to believe that fountain pens have stopped controlling me. :roflmho:

 

This letter is an open pact with the world. I will never purchase another fountain pen for as long as I live. I am free. :roller1:

 

S.U.H." Yea right and a cat don't have a climbing gear.

 

I am still the only one.

 

Welcome to FPN...... :ltcapd:

Edited by jd50ae

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http://lh5.ggpht.com/_763_-2kMPOs/Sh8W3BRtwoI/AAAAAAAAARQ/WbGJ-Luhxb0/2009StoreLogoETSY.jpg

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I suppose this is something like an inveterate gambler walking into a casino to announce that he no longer has a need to gamble. Why don't you place a couple of small bets while you tell us about it?

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Well, he *does* have a point. However, if one feels "free" from ever buying another fountain pen, it's either spectacularly self-deceptive, or they really aren't your thing. I go in spurts for sure, as economics dictate. I don't have a lot compared to most people, but I like having enough for several different inks and I will rotate throughout the day. It's a small thing but a pretty color of ink can really perk up my boring day. And gel pens just don't do it. Pale, pathetic, wannabe inks.

Pearl's Blog: A Journey in Patience: Feline DIabetes

 

Feline Diabetes is a treatable condition.

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I thought it was actually a very enjoyable and interactive read :)

 

A new member expressing a very personal account of his/her own fountain pen journey. There are parts to it that I can relate to very closely. The obsession, the fear of obsession, then the acknowledgement of obsession...all swirling around til it stabilises to an equilibrium.

 

Of course, this is only one anecdote from one opinion from one individual. A fun and meaningful read, despite it sounding a bit like something out of "Fountain penonholic anonymous" or "The fountain pen Quitline" :unsure: :lol: :rolleyes:

 

Personally I went to the path of enjoying the hobby in little packages. Everyone is different in how they moderate their burning inner passion. Sometimes that fire goes out of control, and the only solution might be to extinguish the fire from burning the rest of you up :unsure:

 

Welcome to FPN - you will find that there are more people who are like you :)

Edited by kissing
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good luck to the guy. I don't have any interest in seeing anyone unhappy. But Kissing hit the nail on the head saying it sounded like a testimonial at a Fountain Penaholics Anonymous meeting, and so I found it boring, self-righteous and spiced with more than a little criticism of others who have yet to "see the light."

 

Again, good luck to him. Free speech runs both ways. j

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But Kissing hit the nail on the head saying it sounded like a testimonial at a Fountain Penaholics Anonymous meeting, and so I found it boring, self-righteous and spiced with more than a little criticism of others who have yet to "see the light."

 

Again, good luck to him. Free speech runs both ways.

 

Durn right!

 

:sick:

 

 

 

Watermans Flex Club & Sheaffer Lifetime Society Member

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Thanks for the thoughtful replies. To answer some of the questions:

 

The drawer full of inks will be used. I still use the pens I haven't given away.

 

I didn't mean for my earlier post to be taken as self-righteous or critical of the community.

 

And Mr. Binder-- my only regret is not trying out one of your specialized nibs. But, the thought that there exists a nib that writes even more superbly than what I currently use makes me smile. Which is the point. I can finally let go and be pleased with the existence of a pen without going online and binge spending. Also 'prolix'--good word. And ouch.

 

 

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I can only speak for myself, but I didn't find it self-righteous--rather self-deprecating, to an extent, even. But I can see why it might be taken that way (self-righteous, I mean).

 

But I must admit, it does read a bit like a piece of fiction...right down to the very last sentence. :)

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I didn't take it as self righteous either. I can relate to a lot of what he said. He has moved from collecting obsessively to enjoying what he has already collected and he's given away some of his pens to people who will enjoy them. I don't think he is really done with collecting forever, however. There's no rule that says you have to have x number of pens or buy x number of pens per year. One fountain pen filled with ink is all it takes to be "one of us."

 

I probably have enough pens to last a lifetime, but wouldn't mind a few more ;)

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