I used to collect fountain pens. I do not remember now what enticed me to even try using a fountain pen in the first place, being a left-handed person, but I do remember the first fountain pen I ever bought. It was a Waterman Phileas from Levenger (which they don’t seem to sell anymore, though Amazon does). Unlike a lot of lefties who learn to use a pen by crooking their arm around and writing like a rightie, I use a grip that lets me push the pen, and so I didn’t have the problem of getting ink on my hand from dragging it through the fresh ink. Which means that I quickly came to love writing with a fountain pen, and that Phileas became my go-to pen. Side note: one way to prevent your co-workers from borrowing your pen and never returning it is to use a fountain pen. Heh.
That would have been some time in 2000, and it wasn’t long before I had bought several other pens. It was mere coincidence I’m sure that the Colorado Pen Company opened a store in our nearby mall right around the same time. Some of them were great pens for writing, some most definitely were not. Style-wise, I tended to prefer (and still do) sleek, elegant, minimal styling. Most of the pens I bought were Watermans. Another one of my favorites was the Waterman Carène. Before long I had seven or eight nice pens. I could usually justify spending up to a bit over $100 for a nice pen, but some of my favorite ones (like the Phileas) were much less. The most I ever paid for a pen was a Dunhill pen I bought at Harrod’s in London and spent around $300. That was in 2003, and to be totally honest with you I don’t think I have ever used that pen even once in the intervening fifteen years.
The years 2003-2004 were definitely Peak Pen for me. I didn’t buy many more after that, and basically gave up using them not too much later. I’ve had a persistent issue with a nerve in my left arm that pinches easily, and writing by hand for any length of time (regardless of the type of pen) would cause numbness, so I stopped my lifelong-til-then habit of writing in a journal, which was my primary use for the fountain pens. By that time I had been blogging for a few years and had grown to be much more comfortable with using a computer for extensive writing anyway, but I missed using the fountain pens. Sometimes I still do.
I still have them all sitting in a lovely collection case my wife bought me for Christmas one year. They collect dust on the top of my dresser.
When I did keep a journal, I mainly used legal pads. The long ones, if I could get them. In college I had gotten into the habit of using legal pads for taking notes in class instead of using spiral-bound notebooks because I hated the way that the spiral wire always got bent and twisted out of shape. The downside to the legal pads was that the loose ends of the pages often curled up or got a bit dog-eared as I got deeper and deeper into the pad, but that bothered me less for some reason. I was a prolific letter-writer in college, too, and would gladly spend an entire Saturday afternoon writing a letter to one of my friends, pages and pages worth sometimes. Some of my friends were pretty good at keeping up correspondence, others not so much, but I churned out the letters anyway.
Same with the journals. Pages and pages. Nothing anyone in the world would ever want to read, nor anything I would ever WANT anyone to read, but the writing was therapeutic and practically a compulsion for many years. Couple of times I tried using those bound books of blank pages instead of the legal pads, and may have even filled one up once. Ultimately, though, the legal pads were a more satisfying experience. As noted above, I stopped journal writing around the time I started blogging for both the physical reason and because I was posting to my blog every day. By the time I shut down my blog, after twelve years of nearly daily posting, I had finally burned out on writing. Though I have occasionally made a longish post on Facebook now and then, in the last six years I really have not written anything of substance at all. In fact, this blog post might be the longest thing I have written since 2012.
I know that I had a box full of my saved journals up until the point where we moved to our current apartment in 2013. I *think* I threw the whole box away when we moved, but I am not totally sure (we threw away so much stuff with that last move). If I didn’t, they are in our storage locker, buried under other boxes, and, if they do exist, it’s my intention to destroy them before anyone else gets to them. The next time we have to dig something out of storage, I’ll look to see if the box is still there. I’d prefer to burn all the paper, leave no trace of it whatsoever. It’s a metaphor for my life.