Pen Addicts and Pandemics My Fountain Pen Journey
I didn’t start listening to the Connected Podcast at episode 1, but I started in the first few months for sure. Then came other Relay FM shows like Upgrade and Cortex. For those of you who don’t listen to these shows, they have something in common: Myke Hurley.
I listen to shows Myke doesn’t host as well, but it’s safe to say I like his work in tech podcasting.
I had always known Myke also hosted The Pen Addict with Brad Dowdy, but I was so deep in the paperless lifestyle1, I didn’t care about pens.
This isn’t to say I never cared about pens. Throughout my school days, I loved a good gel ink pen or mechanical pencil. But I thought I had outgrown that. The Apple Pencil was the only non-keyboard based writing tool I needed.
On March 4, 2020, Myke and Brad published Episode 400 of The Pen Addict, titled Pen Addict 101. I recall on some of his other shows, Myke made the case that if you had ever been slightly curious about the pen thing he did, this was a great starting point. And so I listened, enjoyed it, but didn’t really do anything with that knowledge.
And then just days later, the world changed.
Suddenly, like so many of us, I was working from home, trying to teach my kids, scared, and stressed. I needed something to bring a little beauty to my world, and that episode of TPA popped back into my head.
I began researching fountain pens.
Because I’m me, and I research way too thoroughly before I make a purchase, I thought about it for weeks, but on 4/19/20, I ordered my first pen: A Slate Gray Pilot Prera.
The early pandemic days seem like a blur, so I honestly don’t remember exactly which came first, but I also started Bullet Journaling around this time as well. It helped me keep track of the days that all dragged on and felt the same, and keep my sanity. I didn’t do the beautiful instagram spreads. I just took the basics of the system. But a nice pen helped make that more fun.
Slowly, and then quickly I went deep down the rabbit hole from more beginner pens to more expensive ones. I’ve even been to a pen show (and met Brad Dowdy himself!), and no longer use any digital task manager. I still do a slightly modified Bullet Journal in my A5 Plotter.
I’ll share some of my favorite pens and how I’m using my Plotter on this blog in the future. But this post is about finding small things that bring joy and beauty into a world that has seemingly moved on from COVID, but has left me working from home. As an extrovert, this is a real struggle for me. I need to find those beautiful things to ease the struggle of being by myself in a home office all day.
So what is it about fountain pens that I love? It’s two things. First, every time I hold a nice pen in my hand and write, I have the thought “This is so nice.” It’s a joy to have a high quality tool at your disposal all day, and I have yet to get tired of the experience.
The other is the ink on the page. Fountain Pen Ink has some unique qualities, and seeing what it looks like on a page, even with my horrible handwriting, is a delight. In fact, I might even enjoy trying new inks out more than new pens.
So that’s it. That’s how I got started down this rabbit hole. I now have somewhere between 15-20 pens (is it bad that I don’t know how many?). I have an order in for one of my Grail pens, and have my eye on several more. I would say it’s become a problem, but it’s also been so good for my mental health, that I don’t really worry about it.
I will never forget the day I found out about Evernote. ↩︎