The first Friday in November is Fountain Pen Day, where we celebrate all the wonderful things that give our handwriting character and help us to slow down when we write.
We sort of celebrate that everyday around here, but it’s always nice when it’s official.
Ideas to celebrate:
- Clean out some pens that need it, and ink up some up fresh
- Head to a cafe with a fountain pen and journal or letters, and spend some time writing
- Give away a pen or two to people you know who do a lot of writing
- Give a kid in your life a Preppy or a Petit1 (who knows the road they could get started on!)
- Treat yourself to a favourite meal*
I thought I would celebrate by sharing a little about my first fountain pen, which some of you know might already know about. It’s actually quite germane, as it is what got the ball rolling to this whole adventure of Wonder Pens.
Back when I was a teacher and Jon worked in banking, he was sent on a business trip to New York. At that time, we had been married a year or two and things were still fresh and dramatic and I was on my own with Super pretending like I couldn’t survive for four days on my own (good grief). And so on his time off, he bought several souvenirs back from New York for me: a dress, some books, and some stationery.
He got me some gel pens, some gel refills, some notebooks, and (gasp!) a fountain pen. I was immediately hooked, without a second’s pause; something in me just knew this was something I was going to love. A click, a switch, a light turns on. I sometimes recognize this in customers because I myself was one of these people – people who love stationery and writing and writing tools, but haven’t yet discovered the magic of a good fountain pen. But once they do… it’s a deep rabbit hole.
I knew it as soon as he brought it out, that my life was going to be changed. It sounds a bit crazy, but I just knew. I was not a dip my toe into the water kind of a stationery nut, I was an all-in-hallelujah-conversion kind of nut. After testing my pen out, my first thought was (first stationery hoarder warning) how am I going to get refills for this? Do I need to preserve its ink supply? What happens when I run out? How much ink is enough? Jon had brought back one pack of cartridges (ha! ha! ha! cartridges! one pack!) and obviously that wasn’t going to cut it.
Shortly after, I discovered bottled ink over the internet, and I was a complete goner. Sailor inks were some of my first and I remain faithful to them to this day, but along the way, I picked up J. Herbin, Noodler’s, Rohrer and Klingner and a few more fountain pens, my first Lamy Safari (charcoal), my first Sailor (Pro Gear Slim). And on it went. I used fountain pens to get me through the drudgery of long nights of marking, my students used them as a special treat. I got a fancy pen case from Nock Co.’s predecessor, Alter Manufacturing, was made fun of my fellow teachers when I pulled my fancy fountain pens, I negotiated with Jon about orders from companies in the US and aboard, I tracked shipping notifications religiously from shipping companies that don’t seem to understand what tracking means. It was all lovely.
A few years down the line and Jon wanted to start a business, he of the entrepreneurial spirit. I loved my teaching job, but I’m always game for a new adventure, so off we went. We threw around a few ideas, including opening a fountain pen shop. I balked, thinking what basically everyone who hears about our business and who isn’t already into fountain pens thinks: who’s still buying pens? Jon, having had to foot the international bill for many of my pen purchases gave me his now classic look, a look I know very well having run a business with him for the last five years.
In a great twist of irony, one of the many in my life, Jon, the budget-keeper of my myriad pen purchases, ended up convincing me to open up a pen shop, allowing me to purchase, essentially, as many pens as we had money for.** I’ll take ten of these, and ten of these, and maybe a few of these as well, why not.
And it was a crazy leap, but we made it, blindly and with all the optimism of two kids who have never run a business before. I say this all the time to everyone who asks about starting a business: if I had known about all the work, risks, costs, struggles, time, hustle, constant uncertainty, and effort it takes to run a small business, I would probably would’ve looked at Jon and laughed when he suggested it.
That being said, I couldn’t imagine any other life, and I also couldn’t imagine life without all these people – customers, vendors, artists and creatives, friends in the industry, that I’ve met through this community of fountain pen users.
And I guess this is what is sort of great about Fountain Pen Day, and all of the things people, bloggers, community builders, are doing – letting all us fountain pen nuts know that we’re not crazy. Or maybe we’rea little crazy, but we’re not alone. There are a whole bunch of us crazies out there, and we can all celebrate together. Or maybe, because a lot of us are introverted souls or are far apart from each other, celebrate individually but united in spirit.
And so! We’re doing a giveaway here on the blog, which we haven’t done in ages (sorry!).
We’re giving away an Aurora Duo Cart here on the blog. To enter, leave a comment. You can tell us about your first fountain pen, your favourite fountain pen, a fountain pen disaster, or just say hello.
One entry per person. Contest closes Sunday, November 4th, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST. Open internationally. Winner will be announced shortly after. Please bear with me in patience and love.
Edit: If your comment doesn’t appear right away, don’t worry! All comments need to be approved as the blog seems to attract a lot of spam. We will surely do a thorough check of the comments periodically through the weekend and before the end of the contest.
*Not fountain pen related, but I mean what is celebration without good food?
**To sell to other people.