On my 21st birthday my mum bought me a nice Parker fountain pen. I don’t remember what it was or what happened to it. But I do recall that I found it scratchy and never used it much. As an object though, I still really liked it.
I’ve always cared about the pens I use. I favoured Parker ballpoint pens at university and used fine refills, but I also had some with medium. I am the sort of person who would spend fifteen minutes looking for one of those pens to sign a cheque when there are Bic and Staedtler ballpoints all over the house! When my grandfather died and we were going through his things, I found a Parker ballpoint in every suit jacket in his wardrobe. I still use these and have a quite a sentimental attachment to them.
Pen Addict Podcast
I started listening to the Pen Addict podcast around episode 50. I’ve no idea why it took me so long to get to it!
Now, it took me a year of listening to MacBreak Weekly before I bought my first Mac. It took me two episodes of the Pen Addict to get my first fountain pen, a TWSBI Diamond 580 with a fine nib from Cult Pens.
Not long after that, I bought a Pilot Capless decimo in violet on eBay and two bottles of ink from Cult Pens: bilberry and grape. Turns out that I think the ink colour should match the pen!
I have Pilot G2 pens and Zebra Sarasa gel pens. I don’t recall where I heard about them, but I like them. And, of course, it didn’t take many minutes of Pen Addict Podcast before I heard these pens mentioned.
It’s a strange thing. Pens have always been important to me, but I’ve never really gone deep. It’s strange because I have an obsessive nature and tend to go deep on whatever I’m into, sometimes to the exclusion of other things, which is why I’ve learned over the years to avoid things that are likely to capture my attention too fully (TV shows, video games being the obvious things I avoid).
It’s also strange because I don’t actually write that much! In the past couple of weeks, I’ve become a good pen friend with my friend in Luxembourg, whom I miss terribly and don’t keep in touch with nearly enough. Needless to say, she’s really pleased!
I have a small Post Office in a rural location in Scotland. I’ve been selling stationery since I started here five years ago. Gel pens sell reasonably well, but I’ve never really learned about them other than which ones sell and which ones don’t. So I’ve gone back to episode 1 of the Pen Addict podcast and plan to start stocking more pens and paper, including Moleskine notebooks.
I’ve always loved the staff picks in Waterstone’s book shop, particularly the handwritten reviews displayed on the shelves. So I’ve come up with the idea of handwriting testimonials of the different pens on brown luggage tags in the shop.
Whether this will work or not remains to be seen, but it’s worth a try and it’ll be fun for me to sell something that actually interests me. Experience tells me that things I like don’t sell well and things I don’t like do, but maybe it’ll be different where stationery is concerned!