Last week some of you may have seen me losing my mind on Twitter, because after nineteen years of trying, I finally sold a story to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (F&SF).
I did not actually set out to buy myself a present to celebrate this. But quite separately, I had managed to irritate myself by flushing out the fountain pen I use most frequently and then re-filling it with ink before it had dried out, resulting in extremely watery ink for a while. I commented to my sister that I should get a second one, and then I could just swap to the other one while the first dried off.
Now, I already have more than one fountain pen. There’s a Waterman I think was a birthday present decades ago, and a Padrino I bought myself in Rome on my honeymoon. There are also two random cheapo things whose brand nor origin can be discerned, and one probably not at all cheapo Jinhao that likewise seems to have materialized out of nowhere — seriously, we don’t have the faintest clue where this one came from. It’s very pretty, and also quite heavy, which is why I don’t use it often; the Padrino has the problem of a screw-top cap and no grip, so I wind up holding it where the thread screws are, and naturally that’s uncomfortable. The Waterman is fine, but I’ve never liked it as much as the pen I use more often.
The selling point of that pen — a Platinum Plaisir — is that it doesn’t dry out nearly as fast as any of my other pens. Some of them, I swear you come back the next day and the ink is already a bit stuttery. This one? I haven’t tested the theory that I could leave it in a drawer for a month and it would still write just fine, but it certainly feels that way. So I thought, okay: I will get myself a second Plaisir.
But I don’t actually find the Plaisir all that attractive. It isn’t ugly, but I already got the color that appealed most to me (a satin-brushed metallic green); when I was browsing the other options, the only one that stood out at all, a gunmetal gray, was out of stock. But in looking to see if I could find it elsewhere, I wound up reading a review of the Plaisir that said something interesting:
Its style of cap, which does such a nice job of keeping the ink wet, is apparently common across all of Platinum’s pens.
This is how I wound up on the Goulet Pens website at two thirty in the morning, browsing fountain pens, and coming across something which I told myself I wasn’t allowed to buy until the following morning, because one should generally not make expensive impulse buys late at night:
I . . . swear I’m not becoming one of those writers, the ones who obsess over fountain pens. But that one was still so damn pretty when I woke up the next morning, and I’d just sold a story to F&SF the other day, and I decided I deserved a present to myself. It is as pretty in person as it was online, and it’s remarkably lightweight, and the nib is finer than my Plaisir, which as someone with default tiny handwriting I appreciate. The ink I put in it apparently does not play well with the paper of my Rook and Rose notebook, because I am too much of a fountain pen noob to understand the subtle nuances of ink-paper interaction, but writing with it pleased me a great deal anyway. We’ll see if it fares as well in the drying-out department as the Plaisir, but even if it doesn’t, I am very glad to have it.