As I strolled past the sale table at Staples the other day I noticed a lovely Cross fountain pen was on sale for a very reasonable price. I ruined the last one I had by printing with it, so I was cautious, but I couldn’t resist. I love fountain pens.
The first time I ever used one was in grade four. In those days we didn’t have cartridges like this one does but rather there was a little rubber squeezer (not a technical term) on the shaft safely tucked under a casing. You unscrewed the casing and pressed the cylinder together to force air out and then put it in the ink bottle to draw the ink up into it as you released the rubber.
My classmate, Glen Ferguson, may recall that he filled his and then proceeded to squirt the ink back out of the pen onto my nice new pink suit. At nine, things like that are easily forgiven but not forgotten.
The history of the pen goes all the way back a few thousand years to the quill pen used by the scholars and scribes of old who dipped it in ink and then took the words to ancient parchment or cloth.
My modern one has a cartridge, but it still has the wonderful combination of scratch and skate as words become visible in the deep black liquid which takes a few moments to dry.
Somehow words written with a fountain pen seem more real to me. They require a little more thought than the words written with ball point pen or on the keys of the computer. They are sort of like the Velveteen Rabbit. They are real because they require some effort and love. They are not just empty and effortless but truly flow from the instrument to the paper.
My grandchildren who are not learning cursive writing or calligraphy like I did will never know the pleasure and joy of making thoughts appear on a page with this fabulous tool. They will have missed a great lesson.