Last night as I sat at a table to sign a copy of The Real Mary for someone who asked, a very kind young woman from England, Helen, observed that she liked my fountain pen. Which of course made me think she was not only observant but also a woman of good taste.
On top of that, a former student of mine and now a professor in his own right, sent me a fountain pen for Christmas. I wrote him to tell him that he is now my Best Friend.
One more: about a week ago I ordered a fountain pen for myself for Christmas. I will wrap it up, write on the present “To Scot from Scot”, and put it under the tree.
There’s something about a fountain pen — real wet ink; writing in such a way that one maintains a steady flow of ink (not too fast or the lines are unclear, not too slow or it can glob). Once one begins writing with a fountain pen and one is asked then to write something with a ball point, the difference is immediately obvious: no comparison. A fountain pen is an instrument and a friend at the same time. We fountain pen users don’t throw our pens away; they are with us for a lifetime.
Here is a good article on the revival of fountain pens in Scotland (from ChrisB).
My favorite fountain pen is a Pelikan — great nibs, solid converters that do not fail, and a classy lightness in the hand. Ah, but one must not get choosy among friends.