I have always had a fascination with writing instruments.
It’s funny how things come full circle. I remember loving a specific mechanical pencil, which in my early teens I turned out pages upon pages of scribbled words. Later I developed a love of beautiful fountain pens, and assembled a collection of them … long since lost.
I had a portable manual typewriter that I used for a few years before acquiring a coveted IBM Selectric of my very own. I used that until, much later, getting myself an Olivetti that had — oh wonder of wonders! — two lines of memory that allowed me to hit a backspace key and ERASE TYPOS without having to resort to Liquid Paper. This typewriter, in turn, had a parallel port on the back of it, and after getting my first computer (an IBM PCjr with IBM Writing Assistant word processing software) I was able to use it as a daisy wheel printer!
Which was far too slow.
Printers went from daisy wheel to dot matrix, to ink jet, and to finally my very own HP Laserjet. IBM Writing Assistant made way for WordPerfect, which after years finally crumpled under the might of Microsoft Word. My IBM PCjr died, being replaced by a computer I built myself. I upgraded that computer over, and over, and over, until finally I’d decided it was cheaper just to replace it … being that computers had become such a cheap commodity.
This was followed by a series of laptops and PDAs. I love my PDA!
Ironically I ended up finding a place on eBay that sold beautiful, high-quality fountain pens at bargain prices, and bought myself a couple of them. I can’t describe the joy and satisfaction I get making solid lines of smoothly flowing Higgins Eternal permanent black ink. Each letter a small piece of art, each word crafted as a picture. Even if I end up crumpling the paper and tossing it away, the joy still remains.
And so on many of my current shorter works, including this one, I write the first draft with a fountain pen.