I’ve always enjoyed Halloween. It’s one of the few times of the year I can indulge my love of morbid movies and themes without worrying about how weird I look.
Back in college my friends and I generally liked movies with darker themes. Horror films weren’t all we watched by any means, but you could generally guarantee at least a few people would be up for watching “A Nightmare on Elm Street” or something similar. A mention of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” would guarantee an audience, too.
Movies like “The Seventh Seal,” perhaps Ingmar Bergman’s best film, drew respect. It’s iconic enough that most people will recognize its imagery even if they’ve never seen it. If you haven’t, it’s well worth finding.
But this week also meant my bank account was gripped by a strong sense of dread. Friday, you see, was Fountain Pen Day. It’s always the first Friday in November, and dealers put on some pretty good sales.
I’ve written before about my fondness for fountain pens. I find that they work better than a cheap ballpoint ever will. And they’ve seen enough of a resurgence in the past several years that they’re becoming easier to find than they have been in decades.
A good fountain pen need not be expensive. Some of the best models for newcomers are cheap indeed. The Pilot Kakuno was designed to teach children how to use a fountain pen, but they’re popular with adults as well. Pilot’s Metropolitan line is also popular, and neither breaks the bank.
Earlier this year I managed to get down to St. Louis for the annual pen show. It was only the second year for the event, but it drew around 1,300 people. Enough, according to Pen World magazine, to make it one of the larger shows nationally.
There are plenty of modern options for pens. A number of companies continue to innovate and produce excellent options. The stars of pen shows are almost always older pens, though. Older models often have better nibs, which isn’t really a surprise given the fact far more companies made them 50 or 100 years ago than operate now, and that competition was much stiffer then. I’ve spoken with people who can rhapsodize at length about the beauty of the flex nibs produced in the 1920s, and it’s easy to understand why when you see writing samples.
All of my pens are modern, with the exception of one dip pen’s steel nib. It has a respectable amount of flex in the tines and is marked “Palmer Method.” I do indeed find some of the unique features of that style are easier with such a nib.
I have not, as I write this, yet placed an order for Fountain Pen Day. But it’s coming. I’ve spotted a couple good options, and my collection will increase.
For the moment, though, my bank account waits with a palpable sense of foreboding. I’ve promised it I’ll take it easy.
But don’t the horror movie villains always say that?