The pleasure of writing with a Fountain Pen

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Nah, as I write, the spelling mistakes do not get corrected automatically. The piece of paper (most often a loose sheet, at times a note book) that I put my thoughts on, does not underline the grammatically suspect constructions either. And when I am stuck for a particular or specific word, unable to recall the exact term that I want to use, it doesn’t throw up a list of synonyms, leave alone give me the ability to look up the precise meaning, or click to do research.

And then there is the issue of putting in hard labour. Physical writing, with pen and ink is, like it or not, calls for a lot of effort. Additionally, there is the irritation when either the pen doesn’t work perfectly (dried nib, overflowing ink, just a shade too heavy with different permutations and combinations); or when the paper is either too glossy, or too coarse, or the type that bleeds; or when the notebook is just a weeny bit too thick so as to make the palm feel uncomfortable as it hangs over the table and the jotter’s edge.

Any (and all) of these irritants have the potential of acquiring Earth shattering proportions as we all know. The first casualty off course, is the handwriting that you can scarcely recognise, ugly as it is. You detest, even abhor, the look of the written word, horrified at the way your script looks philistine, bordering on the incoherence of an illegible illiterate’s outpourings.

On the other extreme is a perfectly written page – rich in content, beautifully executed – with that one transgression, a slip as it were, when a particular word had to be scratched out. What do you prefer? A simple strike through? A scratched-out scar with stitch marks and all? A doodle around the word as your mind wonders off in glorious blankness to some parallel dimension? Little crosses that are neatly executed like some hand stitched handkerchief? Perhaps an angry, heavy handed crossing out that soaks in the anger and damages the paper? Decisions, decisions…

The old fashioned (sic!) way, in which I write does not allow me the luxury of hindsight. I can seldom revisit old rumblings and tinker with the words, phrases or even entire paragraphs. Mostly, the drying of the ink signifies a forever kind of togetherness – like a marriage of yore, good bad or ugly, for ever and more. No, for me, writing is neither an open relationship, nor a friendship with benefits. Forget about the one-night stands, the casual flings. It is a labour of love, wherein you grow old, together – warts, blemishes, inkblots, et all. It calls for constant efforts, for the involvement of the mind, for the rough mental sketches before the pen is uncapped and certainly before it is put on paper. The symphony of the scratching of the pen on paper, includes, inter-alia the cacophony in the mind that precedes it.

The worst however, is when, for whatever reason, the carefully thought out script in the mind is lost. And perish the thought of the same happening midway through the piece. Pen, paper and not even a penny for your thought! But that I guess, is something even the most profligate among the word processors cannot address either.

I am back to my fountain pen and paper then. Tactile is the feel of paper, the leisurely resting of the pen on the palm, the tension of the nib as it creates in the vast nothingness of the empty blank. Olfactory is the smell of the surfactants and pigments of the ink. Visual is the delight of seeing the words form, the crystallisation of thoughts, the drying of the ink. Gustatory is the expectation in the mouth as the mind celebrates the written word, even as the senses auditory delight in the scratching of the pen on paper. It’s a soul thing that is as near nirvana as I have ever gotten to.

Now try keying that in?


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