Melfka’s Birthday Week: The Writer’s Special Pen

Welcome to my Birthday Week during which I post random, interesting or embarrassing facts about myself, and today and today I have something writing-related.

For the last several years I’ve been mostly using keyboard in my writing. The fact I lived close to work, so no commuting, and had access to a PC during my lunch breaks had definitely contributed to that, but I still handwrite on occasion, and I always have two notebooks in my bag. One is small, for those random sentences and ideas that come in the middle of the street, the other one is bigger, and meant for any writing I do away from my laptop.

As you can see, my notebooks are quite weathered, because I carry them in my bag for years.

And where are notebooks, there has to be a pen, too!

For the most of my life, I’ve been using cartridge and fountain pens. It started in the primary school when I discovered that writing with a nib is much smoother than with a ball-point pen, and I promptly switched. I discovered a whole new array of problems connected to my left-handedness, since the ink often didn’t dry fast enough as I wrote (especially when jotting down notes at school), but I learned to compensate by holding my hand at another angle.

My first pens were cheap kiddie ones, with colorful pictures. Then, as I grew up, my taste steered toward more elegant and simpler design. My pens still might have been cheap plastic ones, but at least they looked the part.

And there it is. The text in the picture says it all.

It was also when I got to nurture my dislike for anything blue (funny enough, I like the color, as long as it has nothing to do with what I wear or own): I quickly switched from blue ink to black, and then had an adventure with green. Sadly, the latter turned out to be too bright, especially when I insisted on using greenish paper in my private correspondence (those were the crazy 90s when people actually wrote “real” letters to one another). Then, with the capitalism progressing, more ink colors hit the market and this is how I was introduced to purple which for the next 20 years or so had remained my faithful companion. I might temporarily substitute purple with black when I don’t have any cartridges left, but as of rule I try to be well-stocked when it comes to purple.

But I digress and there’s a pen! THE PEN!

During my time at the university, I got to pay a bit more for the pens, and Parker—the most popular brand at the time—seemed an obvious choice. Well, it wasn’t. Their rather bulky design and too thick nib annoyed me, and even though I owned several of them, they never grew on me.
This is when I came across Waterman. My father had received a gift: a set of a ballpoint pen and a fountain pen, but since he didn’t use the latter, he passed it onto me. I could say it was the love from the first written sentence: fine nib matched my rather tiny handwriting (with Parker’s wider nib, half of my letters were always becoming illegible blobs of ink), and a smooth, rather thing design fitted perfectly in my hand. And that look: chrome-like stainless steel with silver details!

And the pen again. I love its simple design.

Waterman’s Hemisphere (as this is the pen’s name) stayed with me for over 5 years, though with the excessive usage, the cap loosened, and the pen would often slip out, causing the ink to dry out. And, sadly, one day it must have slipped out when I was taking something out of the bag, because I was left with the cap only. The drama didn’t last long: I was determined to get it “back”, and after scouring the Internet for the name, I bought a replacement during one of my trips to Poland.

Then, some more years later, my bag got stolen (silly Melfka, it was partially her fault!). Of all the things gone (wallet, phone, and an mp3 player included), I mourned the loss of my notebooks and my pen the most (and maybe also that one text in which Inq had said “I love you” for the first time, but that’s another story: and it’s not like I’m going to forget that message any time soon). Nothing could be done to recover all the notes from the notebooks, but I could make sure I had my pen again.
And here I am, with “the same” Waterman Hemisphere I’ve owned for over ten years. I might be typing most of my texts, but I still use it to write notes, letters, and Christmas cards. And if I can help it, I’m not switching it any time soon.

What about you? Do you have your favorite pen?

This post is a part of Melfka’s Birthday Week in which I share some interesting or embarrassing facts about myself. Posted so far (links will be updated daily):
Melfka’s Birthday Week Introduction
Melfka’s Birthday Week: The Witch’s Black Cat
Melfka’s Birthday Week: The Love of Earrings
– Melfka’s Birthday Week: The Writer’s Special Pen (this post)
Melfka’s Birthday Week: The Dancing Klutz

Joanna Maciejewska

Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games. Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English. Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. portiabridget

    The story of losing your bad moved me and your Waterman does look nice! My pen of choice is actually an array of felt-tip pens ;p I also like good pencils (automated preferably) or gel ball-point pens. Real pens are too sophisticated for me unless we are talking quills…

    1. portiabridget

      Losing your bag…sorry, a bad case of morning fat fingers 🙂

      1. melfka

        No worries. I can sneakily edit your comment and get rid of it, you know… 😛

    2. melfka

      I can tell you that since then I’m pretty much paranoid about my bag.
      I used gel ball-point pens for drawing and sketches (the rose on Society 6 was done with one), but to me nothing feels better for writing than a “real” pen :).

  2. sjhigbee

    What a beautiful pen – I like that you use purple ink… I used to use purple in my fountain pen when I was teacher as my handwriting is dreadfully ugly except when I use an italic nib. Like you, though I am a left-hander so I tend to write sideways from top to bottom to avoid the constant smudging problem. These days I prefer to use a pencil for my notes and an italic fibre tip pen.

    1. melfka

      It’s good to know there are some other people out there who use purple (well, I guess there have to be since companies are making that ink).
      To write something quick like a shopping list, I usually grab a normal pen (Inq has plenty of them), but anything longer and I instantly switch.
      I never really used pencil for writing (except for the first grade at school): I guess in my brain it’s for drawing.

      1. sjhigbee

        I have to say, I don’t use it any more. On the few occasions I don’t have access to a keyboard to write, I tend to turn to a pencil, these days.

  3. J.R.Bee

    I would love to be able to write with a fountain pen, but alas I always break the nib and smudge/ blot the ink. My hand writing also sucks with them, so I have to stick with fairly thick grip ball points or I my writing becomes illegible.

    1. melfka

      Well, we’ve finally found a difference between us: I’m horrible with ball points . It always feels like I’m chiseling the page with them.

      1. J.R.Bee

        It was bound to happen eventually, it’s how people will tell us apart in the future 😀

        1. melfka

          It’s simple. You have a beautiful and clear British accent, while I suffer from Americanized second-language-ness. 😛

          1. J.R.Bee

            You’re accent is your life map, a tapestry of all the places you’ve been, mine is … well BBC English. I’d love to have my native accent (Devonshire)

          2. melfka

            I like your BBC accent ;). I can have a linguistic crush on you, lol.

          3. J.R.Bee

            Haha, certainly not a compliment I’ve ever received before XD

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