Snobbery is unattractive. I think most would agree. Yet I must admit to a little bit of this quality. I am snobby about pens.
As a writer, I have feelings about writing implements. I’m not one of those conservatives who claim that only the old-fashioned tools have beauty and merit – I’d be lost without my computer. In fact, I think I actually love my computer. But when I am in the first throes of a new idea or project, when I am just noodling and musing on paper, I like to noodle and muse with a pen. And the kind of pen I use affects the quality of my noodling.
I own three kinds of pen. My favorite pen is the fountain pen. I love how the ink flows and is still wet when it hits the paper. That glossiness, that smooth easy feeling, all make my Muse feel as if she is riding on a moving sidewalk. Ideas glide and swirl from the pen with easy grace. The fountain pen is alive.
Now, the fountain pen does have some drawbacks – you have to change the cartridges, and sometimes those cartridges leak. Then you will have big blobs of black ink on your hands until you get around to taking a hot shower. Sometimes it takes two bouts of scrubbing with soap to make that ink disappear. This is a small price to pay.
I also own Roller Ball pens. These are my everyday pens, the kind I have in my purse, the kind I use to write my checks and my to-do lists with. I sign my name with them. The ink still flows, although it’s not as wet when it arrives on the paper, and it dries fast. But they rarely leak in your purse, which is a major point in their favor.
And I have one or two ballpoint pens, which I rarely admit, because I hate them. The only reason I have any ballpoint pens is if someone left one at my house and I haven’t yet thrown it away. I will go a long way to avoid using a ballpoint pen. I don’t even like to write checks with them. The only kinds of words that come from a ballpoint pen are the ugly, plastic, skinny, skimpy, bland, trite, and boring ones. Ballpoint pens were invented because they never leak, but this is only because they are dead. That’s why only dead writing comes from them.
I guess you can see I’m pretty adamant about my pens. If hating ballpoint pens makes me a snob, so be it. But I bet I’m not alone – who else out there is snobby about their writing tools?