Sunday, May 20, 2012

Selecting a Writing Instrument - Entry #3

When I attempt the New York Times crossword puzzle (only Mondays and Tuesdays) I like to use a specific pen.  Choosing the appropriate writing utensil is a small, but important ritual.  I want a certain feel.  The weight and balance is critical.  The ease in which the ink flows onto the newspaper is essential.  In a way, I look at this implement as an extension of my hand, my fingers.  Considering the length and scope of my Writing Project I wanted a special writing instrument for the daily correspondence I would send out.

I could have rifled through the top desk drawer in our household den for a suitable pen.  In my office there are a plethora of decorative and fanciful writing tools collected from regional and national conferences over the years.  Yet, none of them seemed fitting for the task at hand.  So, instead of exploring household nooks and crannies or ransacking office supply cabinets I resolved to opt for something new, something different.  I decided on purchasing an old-fashioned fountain pen, inkwell and all, to use for my yearlong project.  I had this romantic vision of being seated at a timeworn table with aged scars and markings, in the subdued glow of candlelight, dipping the tip of my venerable tool into the inky wellspring, and slowly loading the shimmering liquid into its chamber.   

Flush with excitement I headed to the local stationery store to sample their wares.  While there was quite an assortment of fountain pens—various colors, quality of craftsmanship, price ranges—none of them had the capability to draw from an inkwell.  “Too unpredictable,” the salesperson said.  “You don’t receive the consistent flow of ink as from a cartridge.”  Disheartened, I persevered with my goal of purchasing a fountain pen, one with the modern convenience of a replaceable ink cartridge.  Small, medium, and wide tip were the standard variations.  I sampled each, the writing device rolling across the practice pad with unforced efficiency.  After factoring in an array of variables and mulling over such minute details as color I chose a mid-priced, sparkling silver Faber-Castell fountain pen.   The company, founded over 240 years ago in Germany, is one of the top producers of fine quality writing instruments in the world.  As I paid the sales clerk I hoped my Writing Project could live up to the standards set by this celebrated company.
T minus 5 days.

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