Handwriting [95/365]

440px-Stipula_fountain_penWhen my mum had to write something important, she always brought out her fountain pen. It was black, the brand was Faber-Castell. It’s probably still around somewhere, back at the old homestead. When I learned to write myself, as a kid, I was always a little envious of that pen. Perhaps because my mum made such a big deal about it. When she bought stuff, it had to be high quality — expensive stuff. She’d rather wait, than to settle for some cheaper replacement … always took extremely good care of it, be it shoes, pens, glass or anything, to make it last almost a lifetime.

This pen was out of range for me, and besides I’m left-handed. In school, I can’t really say they tried to force me to write with my right hand … I remember vaguely, they suggested I’d try, but that didn’t work out. They never mentioned it again. I do remember the diagonally lined piece of paper we had to put underneath our writing paper, in order for us to write with the script leaning … to the right.

I always yearned for a really neat handwriting, but was never satisfied with my own. Sometimes, even later in life, I could happen to come across some nice script, and I tried to imitate it. This only caused me to lose whatever handwriting I might have had.

Up until 1995, I wrote letters … long ones, several pages … by hand. Then the Internet came into play, and now there are times I don’t even pick up a pen all day. When I do write by hand, it feels as if I suffer from atrophy in my hand — after a few lines it gets all ‘tired’.

A few of my FB friends are interested in fountain pens, and apparently there are inks nowadays that are extremely fast drying. I’ve never tried it, but it sounds promising. The way I write, I drag my whole hand in what I’ve just written … I push my hand, as opposed to right-handed people who pull their hands when they write. I really have a hard time imagining an ink drying that fast.

37 thoughts on “Handwriting [95/365]

  1. David Bennett

    I was so worried about the deterioration in my handwriting that at I treated myself to a fountain pen. I too am left handed, but I learned to cock my hand (twist it to the left at the wrist) that I don’t obscure the pen as it travels across the page.

    When I say that my handwriting had deteriorated, I mean that it shook and didn’t seem to know which way to move to actually write. It’s not that I never use a pen, but I use modern pens – I have a stack of ‘Uniball Vision Needle’ pens that have a fine point and flow easily – and last and last. But they are anonymous and let my hand move wherever it wants.

    After a very short time of using the fountain pen – maybe a day or so – my handwriting recovered. It’s a a Cross pen, the cheapest in their lineup – cost me £45 and I bought a bottle of Cross ink. It takes cartridges, but I also bought the converter that means I can take up ink from the bottle, and I use that. Even the move from cartridge to converter felt like a liberation.

    And the pen has a medium nib. I have never bought a pen before that has a medium nib. I would always go for the fine point, thinking it was ‘better’.

    I have an old pens and I tried it before I bought a new one. It was scratchy and ‘reluctant’ – so I went for a new one and new beginning.

    I recommend it – it is a good antidote to the ever-faster pace of life. Even seeing the pen marks on the paper slows me down. 🙂

    1. Rebekah M Post author

      Aww … thank you, for this comment! Perhaps it would work for me too! I know what you mean about twisting the wrist to the left — I took calligraphy classes, and the guy said it looked as if I was holding some surgical instrument 🙂
      Now, I’m really missing a store in Quebec City! A speciality store for pens! It was wonderful … they had it all. No such thing here, the only one that even carries Cross pens [I have two, ball-point], is Staples.

      Perhaps, it’s not too late …

  2. John

    I’ve never tried a pen like this. My hand writing has gone away now since I use the laptop for all writing and printing on via the printer. i can no longer write Cursiff except my name!

      1. John

        It’s crazy that I can print fine but not the other. An article I read said that style of writing is becoming a lost art. The meeting went well.

  3. wordsfromanneli

    I have a great affection for old-fashioned fountain pens. LOVE writing with them, but of course, don’t do it often.It must be a real challenge to do that with your left hand.

  4. Leya

    I love fountain pens and have owned a couple in my days. I had several calligraphy pens too, but never use them any more, so they are clogged and will not work. My oldest and first pen was the best one – a Pelikan. I lent it to my daughter’s friend for using it in a play – I was very anxious to do so, because I seldom let other people use my pens. (pen freak, really). And unfortunately, when I got it back, the nib was broken.
    Today I have a new pen, a Parker, that I got from my children. My old Waterman and I never really got along well.
    I try to write by hand as much as I can, but we all use the laptop too much…I no longer write as beautifully as I once did, but that was first killed with a stressfull job where my writing was reduced to something like a medical prescription – unreadable.
    Keep it up!

    1. Rebekah M Post author

      Aww … I know how that must have felt! I’m like that too. I’ve only had one Waterman pen [ballpoint], we never got along very well either. I love my Cross pen I have now.

      I took shorthand in school, and subsequently used it for many years. That too, did bad stuff to my hand writing.

  5. Mara Eastern

    I was hoping for an actual sample of your handwriting in this post 🙂 I love stationery, including fountain pens, but I found out that when you carry your fountain pen around a lot, like on the bus, the plane, etc., it apparently affects the pen – it probably doesn’t like being shaken so much. At least that’s why I think my fountain pen would always start leaking, which of course is a horrible mess. One doesn’t want to run around with ink on one’s hands like a schoolgirl.

    1. Rebekah M Post author

      I did a test today … holding my hand in a different angle. Might put in a sample 😊

      I’ve heard something about fountain pens on flights, but never found out whether it was truth or myth?!

      1. Mara Eastern

        Thank you for the link! I was thinking that I was imagining things, so I’m glad that it’s an actual concern. My pen was medium price range, but after a few trips on the plane, I just had to throw it out. It looked like it wouldn’t stop leaking, so I ran out of patience with this old-fashioned device…

  6. Cee Elle

    Nice post. Handwriting is something worth preserving and no other stationary can give you the same experience as a fountain pen. Travelling with a fountain pen is fine, as long as you take a couple of basics precautions.

    1. Rebekah M Post author

      Thanks! … also for stopping by 🙂 After that previous comment, I checked out air travel with fountain pens, and found that out. The few times I fly, I could easily take time out to do that.

  7. suzink

    You have a beautiful hand I think! Subscribe to Jet Pens. They do comparisons on pens. They have all kinds. I have my dad’s old calligraphy pens that are dip pens. I also have old fountain pens I used when I was in school that take the ink cartridges. I also bought a glass dip pen in Venice! I love pens. They also have ink comparisons and it is a really interesting site. There are a lot of fairly inexpensive pens. I just got a pilot pen that is real small that take cartridges. You might go see what they have and if it would be hard for you to get.

    1. Rebekah M Post author

      Oh thanks … I’ll go and check it out. I wouldn’t want to make any kind of big investment, not knowing if it will work out. I’ve tried today, to write with my wrist angled, it’s tiresome and my handwriting becomes totally different compared to my regular

  8. daydreamer2011

    My handwriting is awful…. as you very well know LOL Poor thing that have to try and read my letters!!

    Oh Faber-Castell! Had no idea they have been around that long!? I Have some Faber-Castell Artist PITT pens that I use for my art these days. They are way different from the fountain pens though!

  9. Deb Weyrich-Cody

    LOL! All of these years (decades; ) later, I still love pursuing the “perfect” pen! But fountain pens? No thanks!
    I am also a lefty and have bold printed everything since Grade Five… No amount of practicing “joined loops” (in preparation for our classes’ compulsory entry into the hand-writing competition at the local Fall Fair): could ever overcome the physics of pushing the nib instead of it trailing behind as with Right-Handers and I gave up on cursive for good after being told by the teacher that I was “not bad, for a Lefty”):
    As to not scrambling the wet ink; try just turning your page to give the desired “forward” angle – not bending your wrist. (No more smeared writing or ink-stained heel of the hand, and you’ll suffer less from strain, as well: )

    1. Rebekah M Post author

      Heh! I never gave up … still haven’t. Even took calligraphy classes, as I mentioned in some comment here. I tried tonight, with a gel pen … all kinds of variations, bent wrist, turned paper and so on … it probably can be done, with practice 🙂

                  1. Deb Weyrich-Cody

                    Yes, always good advise!
                    She’s a very pretty pen, Rebekah; have you had the chance to actually have one “in hand” yet? To me, that’s what really tells the tale; there are just so many factors to consider about writing utensils… Size, shape and length of barrel. Does it feel “right”; ie: balanced or not? Does the ink flow well, but without messy tips and tails?
                    I like just a touch of silicon on the grip for less hand strain and a comfortable, relaxed grip seems key to enabling better script on my part: )
                    But y’know, after rereading all of this, I think I’ve put ‘way too much thought into it; )

                    1. Rebekah M Post author

                      I agree with you, Deb … there are many factors; all of those things you mentioned … but the guy in Staples said I could try it before buying. That’s a good thing. I didn’t think they would break the package …

  10. PonderTheIrrelevant

    I’ve always been fascinated with fountain pens and have used them off and on over the years. I have a rather nice one I received as a graduation gift, but now it sits in its box, tucked away in a drawer at the office. I just don’t write enough to justify the maintenance these days, which is a bit sad really. Between typing and texting, I find my handwriting has devolved into a weird non-intentional shorthand that mostly only makes sense to me. Good for my journalling maybe, but not so much for correspondence 🙂

    1. Rebekah M Post author

      Same here, about the handwriting. First I learned ‘real’ shorthand, and used that for years, in my work. Then all this (computer, texting et cetera) came around. I want to get it back 🙂


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