Monday, November 28, 2016

A Classic Writing Utensil

I took this photo at Tidewater Books in Sackville, NB, yesterday, after the reading and signing, during the Customer Appreciation event in store. The sticker caught my eye for two reasons: It says "Autographed Copy", which is happily quaint, but more significantly, there is the image of a fountain pen on the sticker.

For many, many years, during high school and university, I wrote with a fountain pen. Not a quill and ink pot but a Sheaffer fountain pen that used ink, blue and black, labelled "Classic Catridge Ink". Little plastic tubes I dropped into the body of the pen and when I screwed the nib back on, it pierced the plastic and ink flowed.
I just checked a box of odds-and-sods writing pieces sitting on my shelf: I still have the pen and was surprised to see I still have cartridges.

I loved writing with that fountain pen. And it reminds me of another loss, a loss I noticed the other day.
There is no longer a writing bump on my right ring finger (for some reason, I never learned to hold a pen on my middle finger). For as long as I have been writing, I have had that bump there. In the past five years, I've done most of my writing on a computer and I rarely have time, or take the time -- unfortunately and regrettably -- to write pages and pages a day in my Hilroy spiral notebook (also a staple writing equipment of years and years). So the bump has faded away.
Just as I stopped using a fountain pen.

But after recording an interview for a program on CFTA community radio, the host and I were talking and a favourite poem of mine came up. When he wrote down his email address so I could send him a copy, he used a fountain pen.
Then on Sunday, I see this sticker on the cover of my book.
And now I find my old fountain pen, along with some ink cartridges.
I owe my dear friend Colleen in Cobourg a letter. I think I'll write her a long letter, in thick blue ink, that will make the barest remains of the writing bump on my finger swell up with pride.

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