I have horrid penmanship. Partly because I have some nerve issues in my dominant hand but also because I never really tried to learn how to write legibly in the first place. According to a close friend, the squiggles I make with ink and lead have gotten worse than when we met in first grade. Perhaps I should have been a doctor.
Up until a couple weeks ago, I relegated what I refer to as my “enthusiastic scrawl” to my monthly rent check, restaurant and bar bills and the occasional birthday card. If I do have reason to actually write out a letter or note that anyone else is expected to interpret, it must be printed very slowly. To me, “cursive” means “don’t pick up the pen and just kind of wiggle and trail off at random.”
But now, by god, I’m writing again.
I’ve been trying out Inventery’s newest machined brass creation: the $180 Pocket Fountain Pen. It’s a stunner in any of the four available finishes, combining an industrial design that’s at odds with the flamboyance normally associated with fountain pens. A feather quill this is not. It’s less “Declaration of Independence” and more “object with which Jason Statham would assault a ninja.”
The most interesting quality is that it’s modular. Buy one of the examples that comes with an extender and the stubby four-inch pen ($150) becomes a 5.2-inch writing implement. (I prefer to write with the cap screwed onto the opposite end, making an even longer, heavier tool.) In addition, the pen clip can be swapped for a tablet stylus or lanyard fitting. The innards are swappable as well: the fountain pen ink reservoir can be refilled using a simple plunger tool that’s included. Lastly, if you’d like to switch out the delicate, elegant nib for a more laser-focused tip, there’s a ballpoint attachment, too.
I walk around with my Pocket Fountain Pen at work, twirling it around in my hand and tapping its heft on my knee when I’m fidgety. There’s another one in my briefcase just in case. Aside from the aesthetic and tactile benefits, the pen has actually improved my work life: I write more lists now, which begets productivity. Or would, if I could tell what they say.