Lamy 2000, my pen of choice.

The internet has slowed to a crawl here in Afghanistan due to foul weather interfering with our satellite reception. Because of this, the post I had intended to publish yesterday is still being researched and supplemented with photos at a snail’s pace. Maybe tomorrow… So in a desire to publish something, I’m taking the cheater’s way out and linking to some other fantastic reads instead.

I’ve mentioned writing longhand as a lost art and advocated for it recently. But part of what has made my rediscovery of cursive (or script) writing so pleasurable has been my Lamy 2000 fountain pen. I use a fine nib, and typically stick with Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue ink. On truly white paper, it just pops and looks really nice. (I’m also a proponent of using some really nice paper. My folio is stocked with Southworth 25% cotton fiber linen, and I have some A5 stationery tablets from G. Lalo and Original Crown Mill of classic laid and pure cotton. Remember to get matching envelopes for the full effect.) My pen should appear as the featured image above this post, actually.

My own quick thoughts about this pen can be summed up with a love for all the details. For such a simple, modern design, it’s very thoughtful. The 14k gold nib writes smoother and nicer than the cheaper stainless steel nibs I’ve dallied with in other pens. The makrolon barrel has a pleasant texture and appears to age well, but also hides fingerprints and smudges that would appear on glossy black plastic. The aluminum stainless steel section toward the nib allows ink from a bottle to wick right off after filling and clean easier. The pocket clip is inflexible steel, and is hinged and sprung. It’s heavy enough to feel like something of substance and importance without being burdensome. I love the windows built in for viewing the ink level. And it disassembles for cleaning easily.

In short, I began my interest in fountain pens wanting a Montblanc Meisterstuck 149. After being talked into trying the Lamy 2000, I want nothing else. Any other pen I collect is now just for whimsy. I’ve found the only pen I really need.

So without further ado, here are some more in-depth reasons you should try a Lamy 2000 fountain pen and enrich your own writing experience.

And they can be had for a good price from Amazon.com (though I recommend someone like Goulet Pens who specializes in the field). Now get writing!

Hand writing

Not sure if I’ve typed about this before, but I’ve recently developed a pretty strong love of writing longhand. And because my past few blog entries have taken so long with interruptions, editing, proofreading, inserting images, looking things up, creating appropriate hyperlinks… Today’s post should be pretty short. Because I’m basically taking going to take today off from the blog and write a love letter home to my wife and then break out my journal.

I’d like to see some studies done on this, but one thing I notice is that I’m more careful and deliberate when I write by hand. Putting ink to page removes the ease of correction that pixels on a screen give, so each sentence that I write for somebody else to read becomes that much more considered. It’s taken me a while to re-learn how to write in cursive after more than a decade of ignoring the practice and sometimes I start writing faster than I really can, leading to some unsightly corrections. But by and large I find the process to be much more fulfilling.

For one, handwriting is much more personal than helvetica on a screen. Who among us would really choose a simple email from a loved one over a handwritten missive that they took the time to craft themselves? There are a number of conveyances available to carry my words to another person, but only one with such a personal touch as my own handwriting. The different stresses and reliefs and indentations on the paper. Where ink flowed more vigorously from my Lamy 2000 fountain pen or was strained to wick out fast enough under a long and rapid stroke. Electrons do not capture this. An email can’t be spritzed was a hint of perfume or cologne for a loved one to smell. And when writing with a fountain pen, I have even more choices in colors of ink and types of paper (cotton vs. linen vs. laid, etc.).

The second thing I’ve noticed is that I enjoy the peace and quiet of crafting a letter this way. It’s really, REALLY nice to not have Facebook chiming in your ear with constant distractions, and I’m not looking things up on the internet. I simply observe, think, and write. The focus is much better and I feel more effective. I really believe the slower pace and permanence of the ink on the page encourages one to think and phrase things more clearly, and that will translate into day-to-day life simply because the brain is getting exercised in a beneficial way that can be applied elsewhere. I honestly feel longhand writing improves cognitive function. This essay mentions what I’m talking about.

My last observation before I stick in some links for your further reading is a simple one: appearances matter. And living in an age of typing and texting has contributed even further (I believe in my case, anyhow) to penmanship looking even worse than hurry and uncaring had already made it appear. My handwriting was atrocious and frankly, embarrassing. Writing as much as  possible longhand has helped me get back in the groove and improved my penmanship’s appearance. Because a professional man shouldn’t have handwriting that looks like that of a ten-year-old. I print capitol block letters most times for clarity, but even that can look nice or awful depending on one’s level of care. Writing in cursive (or script) again has improved my penmanship on all levels and made it look far more professional. Aaybe you work in an industry where you think penmanship doesn’t matter. All I’ll say is my handwriting looks like it belongs to a grown-up now so I can be taken seriously. Does yours/can you?

Write longhand. Write in cursive. There are actually good reasons to do so. Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to go write a letter to my wife.

4 benefits of writing by hand

8 Way Longhand Writing Frees Your Muse

How Handwriting Trains the Brain

Why you learn more effectively by writing than typing

A Defense of Writing Longhand

One last link, because I liked point #2 in the article