Penmanship

For Christmas, Ben bought me a fountain pen and it changed the way I look at writing, transforming it from a task into an art form.
I know what you’re thinking: “what, like a quill and ink pot?” and: “why would you want that?” Well, the concept itself is quite modern, there’s even an entire subreddit about it!

Firstly, it’s not quite a quill and ink pot. I got the Lamy Safari fountain pen, which is considered a good introduction into fountain pens with refillable ink cartridges. It travels smoothly across paper, and really is a pleasure to use. See below a comparison of the Lamy fountain pen and a regular Bic ballpoint pen.

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Secondly, while $34 for a quality pen is more expensive than a pack of standard ballpoint pens, it has been more of a personal change than a stationary one for me. Using the fountain pen makes the experience of writing feel purposeful.

I spend a lot of time curating and getting my numbers up for this blog that I often forget that writing is meant to be calming, reviving and cathartic. I used to stress so much about writing to impress others that I stopped writing for myself. 

Having a pen that glides along paper is so relaxing to me, I’m often just rambling on until I come across inspiration, and if I don’t, that’s okay too. I’m sure there’s plenty of us who write dozens of pieces and only post one!  I know it sounds silly, but having this small memento of self-care reminds me that poetry is art, and that really, I’m an artist. It’s important to take time for yourself, and to create content you’re proud of–the pen and paper you use is the first step.

P.S. the penmanship examples are lyrics from the song Three by Sleeping at Last, which is about the struggle of the Type Three Enneagram that I wrote my poem, 10, about. Give it a listen!

Would you consider buying a quality pen?
What are some ways you keep yourself going during the dreaded writer’s block?

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95 thoughts on “Penmanship

    1. You’re so lucky you have more than one creative avenue! I even find inspiration when I look through my older work, and I’m able to Frankenstein the best parts of them together into one stronger, cohesive piece. I wish I could paint!

      Liked by 5 people

    2. I never do this kind of thing and I seriously hope Elle won’t think less of me for this but if you love painting too, you’ve gotta read my poem The Graffiti Artist. As a painter you’ll get where it came from. (Sorry Elle couldn’t resist.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’re all artists, no shame in giving us the highlight reel! It’s actually a great piece, demonstrating the longevity of art and how it should really be an ode to ourselves and our art, and not about what we seek to gain from others because of it.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Doesn’t it? It sounds so silly to say that a pen changes our habits, but it honestly does! Sometimes even just writing out the lyrics to a song I heard with the pen is fun. Definitely another way to get into the swing of writing. Our partners think alike! Lol

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I understand you completely. The calming and transcendental feeling of real ink on paper is such a rush. It also made me realize how much I want to invest time in re-establishing the penmanship that typing has eroded over time. I hope you’ll showcase some favorite inks and pens if you continue getting into it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’m obsessed! I can’t go back to using ballpoint pens anymore. This isn’t as fine of a tip I would like, I’d like to go thinner so I can really refine those lines. It’s so exciting to think of those modifications you can do! My friends think I’m obsessive because I won’t let them borrow my pen lol. I’m relieved to see another follower who is as committed as you are!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. kenza

    Oh I love this! I have been writing with a fountain pen since primary school (it used to be mandatory in France) and never stopped. Just never take it on an airplane… it leeks. Thanks for this post! Kenza.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing this with me! I so appreciate your interaction, as it really is the best kind of connection with my followers, to hear stories like yours. The ones we love are always here for us. Hopefully since I haven’t approved this comment it won’t show up as per your request, only my reply should appear. But thank you for your support, and find comfort in knowing the ones we love will always be loved–and we are loved, in return.

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  4. Love this piece! I have an old Mont Blanc fountain pen (uses cartridges) I just love the sense of the nib tracing across the paper. Even better when it’s a hundred percent cotton parchment! Thanks so much for writing about this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s my next request, quality paper! When the paper is too thin it bleeds and ruins the lines anyway. Thank you for sharing–I’m looking into new nib attachments for mine so I can make thinner lines.

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      1. Great! Maybe you could hand write your next poetry release and put it on your blog as an image! With your neat handwriting that would be fantastic. If I tried do that, it would be a disaster!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Tim

    Fountain pens have been in and out of my life for 30 years. It wasn’t until I bought a LAMY Safari, about 5 years ago, that I started using the fountain pen almost exclusively. I added an assortment of the inexpensive Pilot Metropolitan as a fabulous everyday workhorse pen. When I finally made the leap and spent a little more on a LAMY 2000, I was utterly hooked. I have no idea what it is about this particular pen, but it truly improves my somewhat sketchy handwriting. Your observations resonate with my own. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to hearing about future experiences and adventures in ink selection.

    Tim

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How would you compare the Pilot Metro to the LAMY Safari? I was looking into buying the Pilot as well but I keep hearing they are similar, and I was thinking of moving upwards rather than getting a comparable pen to one I already have. The 2000 is definitely on my list for Christmas 2018! I’ll be an easy gift for all my friends lol. Thank you for sharing!

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      1. Tim

        I like the metropolitan for carrying in a shirt pocket and as my safari is a bright blue, the black metro is way more formal. I love the Fine nib metro and it seems slightly more fine than the F nib Safari. The metro tends to write a little dryer and holds less ink… for long writing sessions I like the safari better. I LOVE my 2000 for everything… feels like butter on most paper. Super fine feel on Tomoe River paper… ooooh la la…

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      2. I wrote four exams with my Safari and still had ink to spare! (3/4 exams were essay-based, that’s a lot of ink!) Definitely putting the 2000 on my list. I need to do some research on quality paper, and I’m gonna start at your recommendation. Thanks, Tim!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The Typist

    Hey Girl,
    This is my last comment. I love this song. It’s still on my MP3 player when I run late at night. My Mom brought this album home back in the day! I hope you’ll enjoy the song. The thing is, I know you’ll understand it for what it is. We’re not that different you and I. Have a lovely weekend Girl.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. If I have something very special to write I always write with an ink pen which has interchangeable nibs so I can write in different styles. I used to be very interested in handwriting and proud of my handwriting. These days however, I rarely touch a pen but only the keys on the keyboard, even when writing creatively!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The Typist

    Last song and comment I promise. Still, things are not always as they seem. Post it or not, I couldn’t give a hairy rat’s ankle. I’m going surfing, and I appreciate your words Elle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I keep a journal called ‘ten minutes’ where I sit down and write for ten minutes or until the page is full, whatever comes first. A lot of time it’s nothing in particular, or I’ll write about something I saw or thought about today. It helps to just get into that groove of pen to paper, and often right after I have inspiration to write something else on the page behind it!

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      1. I love this journal idea. A friend bought me a beautiful little journal but it’s so lovely I haven’t wanted to spoil it with my scruffy handwriting. Maybe a fountain pen, or similar, would allow me to engage with it better. Great post!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem! I have seen some on wish but I don’t know how good they are. I also like the ones from Kaweco. I have seen some good reviews but haven’t brought myself to buy one.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I was really expecting for someone to gift me a pen and a notebook on my birthday, but nobody came with that. 🙂
    For writer’s block I would recommend going through old pictures, getting along with the nature, listening to songs, I’ll have so much for everything when I’m high, I get hyper active lols but I wouldn’t recommend that. You could also grab your camera and and capture your inspiration out in the wild. Sometimes just a walk alone helps.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Throughout the year just keep accidentally sending them the amazon link to the pen I have in my article and I’m sure they’ll have no problems wondering what you want! Lol. And thank you for those recommendations! Old pictures definitely really get me, and when you couple it with an old song it is just nostalgia city.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I Love fountain pens.
    i’d like to get an antique Parker but i use Cross fountain pens for now.
    most of my writing anymore while on the go is done with a Pilot G-2 {10} made in Japan;they’re smooth like a shot of Jack Daniels.
    i hope the transition goes well for you.
    happy writings.
    -Zaroff
    {Samael}
    (sean)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I completely agree!!! And You are ABSOLUTELY an artist!!! It really does make a difference. It’s sensual and just feels loftier in a wonderful way! I don’t own one, but I play with one at my favorite bookstore whenever I go in there. They have NICE ones by the register and it’s glorious to write with them. And I have spent big bucks on nice paintbrushes….it matters! You rock! Cheers and Thanks for once gifting a smile. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Adore this! I would too invest in a pen that would make me feel such freedom as I write. As for the other matter, I just turn on some instrumentals (Bonobo is my favorite) and focus on how they make me feel. What I envision through the sounds and the calmness it gives me helps draw out raw emotions and ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Consider grabbing the Sharpie pens! They have a felt tip and ink that is cheap (I think a pack of 3 is like 9$ on Amazon) and they’re a solid substitution! That’s so smart, using instrumental music and using your creativity to fill in the blanks. Trying that next time!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: Penmanship | By the Mighty Mumford

  14. I’ve used fountain pens since high school. I still have the heavily chewed No Nonsense fountain pen that got me through college! My handwriting is near illegible in biro/ballpoint pens, though the newer ones with easy ink flow are better.

    You know, maybe I should break out my old fountain pens and try writing something free hand once more. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: The PenManShip – just opinion

  16. In eighth grade my teacher selected me as a student who did outstanding in writing and as a gift – which I’m pretty sure wasn’t required, which was why it was really touching – was a fountain pen. That was at least ten years ago and I’m amazing at losing things so I don’t have it anymore. I do really like fountain pens, but I end up using ballpoint pens because I do actually write on paper, and I don’t get upset losing a ballpoint pen whilst I would get upset losing a fountain pen. But to each their own!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally fair! There are a few Pilots listed in this comment section that C.M. posted that are only about $3-4! But I definitely understand the sentiment–why pay the extra? I think that, as long as you are taking time to yourself to write, that love that you pour onto paper translates all the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. In this day and age of technology, pen to paper and penmanship is a lost art. I can barely read my scribble at times. You made me think about the beauty of writing, not just for the sake of jotting down indecipherable notes with the slight hope of being able to read… but the art and care of communication. Well done…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so important to be reminded about the little things. When your penmanship becomes less legible because you don’t practice, you are actually losing knowledge! Always keeping yourself studying, practicing and being aware is the best way to keep advancing.

      Liked by 2 people

  18. I think it’s so true that the physical, intimate grounding of what we do is a part of the experience and you don’t get that unique experience by placing it someplace else or doing it some different way. So if a person needs certain things in a certain order to get things right for them, they need to do that and not care how it looks to other people! lol

    For me, I can be comfortable with a Pentel RSVP but I have to have them in different colors and change back between medium or fine point. Drafting something in black ink and then going back and revising, maybe beginning down the sheet this time in blue, it’s sort of like returning to a beloved vacation home but in a different season, with the prospect of familiar pleasures but also new contexts, maybe new side trips and explorations.

    The day probably will come when I finally encounter a Mont Blanc pen but I hope when that time arrives I won’t be spoiled/ruined forever. Plus there’s always the trusty 24 pack of Ticonderoga pencils– a fairytale forest of shady picnic spots, murmuring creeks as well perhaps as pixies, elves, and spotted snakes with forked tongue, waiting to get lost in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve always loved how that looks! When I was younger, I would have a bucket list of things to do before you die (as one does, lol.) and I would keep adding to it, in pencil, blue pen, black pen, red pen, marker–and I just loved seeing how everything is compounding on whatever you’ve created in the past. That everything comes together. Thanks for your input! Definitely getting more nibs and inks for my LAMY is my next step.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I love this! Over the years, my penmanship has degraded into a choppy chicken-scratch. We are always in such a hurry – and now my penmanship reflects that tendency in me. I love a decent fountain pen. Even the not-so-great pens I’ve had in the past gave me that slow-down vibe… Thanks for the reminder. ~ Linda

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I can relate to the stress of trying to please others and then forgetting to write for oneself. I believe that the way in which we got to that point is different, however I enjoy that you found a physical way to center yourself again. I have a fountain pen, bought it almost two or three years ago. I have barely use it–I don’t think I’ve touched it in the last year. Perhaps today I will. I like your writing, and there is something about your purpose that inspires me. I am gonna take some of that with me. But don’t ask me to explain any further lol.

    Thanks,
    ToBeSublime

    Liked by 1 person

  21. “I spend a lot of time curating and getting my numbers up for this blog that I often forget that writing is meant to be calming, reviving and cathartic. I used to stress so much about writing to impress others that I stopped writing for myself.”

    This is me. I’m trying so hard to build my audience and portfolio, and it’s frustrating almost to the point of despair—almost— that I have less than 200 readers when I’ve had my blog for over a year. Sometimes, I don’t even want to continue. But writing, like you said, is supposed to be for us first, stress-relief and all. I think I’ve lost sight of that. I gotta get that light back. Thanks for the reminder. I think I’ll invest in a fountain pen, too, while I’m at. 😊

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  22. As a completely visually impaired individual, I do not have the luxury of alternating between a pen and paper and typing on a computer, unfortunately. Nevertheless, I am able to very effectively compensate for that by viewing literary art as a string of words, a bead of thoughts, and as they flow from my mind, I merely replicate those in a word processor. It would be quite fascinating to discuss this rather inconsequential yet intriguing topic at greater length as a sighted (yourself) VS blind (myself) blogger. By the way, I happened to discover your blog as you seemingly stumbled across a recent post (poem, rather) of mine, and I must confess that I am indeed glad to have found your intellectually stimulating pieces.

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  23. The Christmas my older brother got his first well paying job out of university, he went wild giving expensive gifts.

    I received a Mount Blanc Diplomat, which I had no idea at first either how to use it, or whether I wanted it.

    Beautiful pen! Of course, with all fountain pens, the nib spreads over time, and the pen begins to leak. The more you press down, the faster that happens — even with Mount Blanc’s.

    Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been trying to tread lightly with my pen so I can get used to pressing less! Hopefully it helps me warm up to the more valuable brands. Thank you so much for sharing! I’m gonna add that to my next Christmas list 😉

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