I decided that I needed to improve my penmanship and this led me down the deep dark path to the fountain pen. I started with a Pilot Varsity then switched to a Platinum Preppy and upgraded to a Platinum Plaisir (Preppy with an aluminun shell) and bought a fancy fountain pen at NTIF this past weekend. It's lovely. It's made from a kit and has a lovely wood barrel and cap. The nib is a Dayacom Germany M. It came with a very short cartridge and a Schmidt converter. Today I bought some Lany blue/black ink and filled it. It writes very smoothly. Apparently there is a whole cottage industry of pen kits for woodturner hobbyists.
Originally, my idea was to use my iPhone for writing and notetaking. Yeah, that didn't work. I went back to writing in a notebook (moleskine and Rhodia) and I really like it. It's just me, the pen and the paper. No distractions.
Note: my penmanship has improved just a wee bit. At least I can read it.
I’ve always written in notebooks. I’ve never kept a proper journal or diary. There is no coherence to them. I often don’t even go back to the old ones. In fact, I tossed a great number of steno pads when I got a divorce from my first wife.
However, writing in notebooks is an old habit to break. I jumped on the moleskine bandwagon and haven’t looked back, though I was dragged into using them kicking and screaming. Okay, not exactly, but I gave them a try and I liked it. Since it is a high quality notebook I decided it was time to up my penmanship game. A little research showed me that fountain pens were the way to go. I gave up on expensive pens long ago because I kept losing them. There are cheap fountain pens, Pilot Varsity is an inexpensive disposable fountain pen and they are quite nice.
Writing with a fountain pen is different than a ballpoint. The ink flows more readily. You really need to write in cursive, so now I need to up my cursive game. My handwriting isn’t always the most legible. [Note-when I was learning how to write in cursive Russian I couldn’t write in cursive English for a while. It was weird.]
I was hip to the idea of using my iPhone for taking notes and writing but have given up for now. There are people that can do it. I even own a bluetooth keyboard. Writing longhand gives me clarity. It reduces distractions and leaves me to my own thoughts. It gives me more time to ponder as I put down words on the page.
I’m looking at other notebooks. Moleskines are pricey though paper in general is getting more expensive, so I’m looking at other brands. Rhodia seems to be another popular brand amongst aficionados of writing by hand. I’ll have to try one out. I have to use the technology that matches my thinking style. Touchscreen devices will improve and become more reliable and secure but until then pen and paper is my preferred aberration.