November 27, 2013: Fountain Pens – Part 2

So why the connection and fascination with fountain pens? I can think of a number of reasons…a smoother way to write with less pressure required, less recycling, a connection with the past, a different thought process, strengthening or establishing new neural pathways, and if for nothing else, the way the ink flows across the paper when you’re writing. And, recently I realized an unattended benefit from using fountain pens on a daily basis…it provides a measure of calm in my usually hectic, stress filled days at work. This, in turn, has a positive impact on the effects of the PTSD that haunts me.

It’s easy to substantiate the benefits of easier writing, more ecologically sound, the connection with the past and the way the ink flows across good paper. My thoughts on neural pathways and how the calming effect of writing with a fountain pen help with my PTSD are subjective and would be difficult to verify. To me, however, the effects are real.

As I look back over the past four or five years using fountain pens and doing landscape photography, I realized there were some similarities, a connection between two completely different activities. There are, of course, immediate similarities: Both are simply tools that capture images or thoughts, whether on paper, film or pixels. In both cases, the drive behind what is written or photographed originates within you, whether from a conscious thought, a spontaneous event, carefully planned, or from background processing waiting for the right moment to work it’s magic.

I started this blog over a year ago and when I was setting it, decided to use the byline “Photography, Journals, and Fountain Pens”. I planned to weave all three topics into my posts, but as I blogged, it never seemed to be the right time until a few days ago. It was then that I realized using fountain pens on a daily basis allowed me to step away from the daily stress at work, just as scenic photography does, that I was finally able to connect the dots. This is, in my mind, is the biggest connection between writing with a fountain pen and snapping the shutter to capture the scene in front of you. When I begin writing or setting up for the shot, I focus on what I’m doing, what’s around me and shutting out distractions. Both help me feel calm.

Here’s the pens that I use…as I have 12, I rotate the pens periodically to ensure they function properly. If not in use for a period of time, I’ll flush the ink out until I’m ready to use them.

From left to right:

2013 George Washington Pen

1982/83 Cross Century II Medalist

2007 Cross Verve Selenium

2013 Nakaya Briarwood

2009 Pelican Souveran m800 clear Demonstrator with engraving

Namiki Vanishing Point Black Carbonesque (retractable nib)

Roting (given as a gift to one of my son’s good friends)

1959 Parker PFM I (Pens for Men)

1947 Parker Flighter 51

1973 Monte Blanc 220

1957 Monte Blanc 344 flex

2012 Pelican Italic

Some of the pens were new when purchaed or received as a gift. Others were vintage pens I acquired from different web sites or various places we visited. Some of the vintage pens (the Parker PFM and three shown below) needed to be repaired for various reasons…seals or bladders had deteriorated, nibs needed work or replaced, and in one case, one pen needed a new cap, Based on advice I received from one of the fountain pen web sites, I sent four pens to Sherrell Tyree of Vintage Fountain Pens, Overland Park, Kansas. The pens were in bad shape and when she sent back I was absolutely amazed at the quality of work she did on each pen. Each pen writes wonderfully now, the ink flows well, they were cleaned, buffed, and polished, and she took the time to wrap each pen individually and tied with a ribbon. She provides a very detailed description of the repair and also included a smail vial of lubricant to apply on the piston or plunger filler pens. She’s good at what she does and is very nice to talk with.

The Schaeffer Trimuph and the Buckskin are gifts for my wife and thee Valiant  to my daughter in law.

Top: 1940s Schaeffer Trimuph (note the new cap)

Middle: 1940s Schaeffer Valiant

Bottom 1953 Schaeffer Buckskin

Fountain pens have an artistic beauty to them and in future posts I am looking forward to include macros of the pens.

Until the next post and thanks for reading.

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