Get the ball rolling
When I was a wee whippersnapper attending a British boys’ school in Southern Rhodesia, we had fountain pens with little squidgy levers you’d pull out after sticking the pen nib into a little bottle of blue ink, and it would suck it up into the ink bladder inside the pen’s barrel. I can’t remember anything more detailed or any funny, messy incidents involving those pens because it was a lifetime ago.
But now I will admit— and this may stimulate a reaction of uncontaminated disgust in the sophisticated luxurious-fountain-pen enthusiast— that for most of the past quarter century, when scrawling interview notes for something in excess of 3,500 journalism-type stories, I have relied on the black Bic Cristal ballpoint instrument, which costs about a quarter.
The Cristal design, brought to the public in 1950, is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The company’s Web site, www.bicworld.com, includes a part-by-part description of a Bic ballpoint and a photo gallery titled “Mastering the ink flow to the point.” Admirably terse!
The splendid French scrawler starts right up (and skippeth not), except on the coldest days outside, when I break out my Fisher Space Pen, which was purchased about a decade ago at Santa Fe Pens. While I haven’t had the occasion to use it in space, or even underwater, the Space Pen is a wonder in freezing weather and when you’re writing on your back, with the pen upside-down.
Speaking of Santa Fe Pens, the store (at 500 Montezuma Ave., Suite 111, in the Sanbusco Market Center, 989-4742) is having its 15th annual Santa Fe Pen Fair. No matter what your penly habit— languid versesmith or furious scribbler — you can peruse a glory of writing tools from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 13, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 14.
A star of the fair is the Santa Fe Edition XII fountain pen manufactured by the Krone Pen Co. of Illinois. There will also be writing instruments by Caran d’Ache, A.T. Cross, Diplomat, and Monteverde. I wonder if the fair will have any inkpots. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I dip my pen in the blackest ink, because I’m not afraid of falling into my inkpot.”