Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Dreaded Ballpoint Pen

I've been thinking about writing a post on this subject for a while, so I finally sat down and typed it out. But after looking at the draft it really does not sound that great, in fact it sounded lame!. It's been sitting as a draft for over a month and I was procrastinating. But I guess I do need to take a break from posting about Pilot or Namiki pens.So after a bit of edtiting here it goes. 

It's funny that among the fountain pen aficionados, it seems to be a big no-no to write with a ballpoint pen. You wrote with a what??? But in my opinion, there are times when a ballpoint may be a preferable choice, and good to have as a part of your daily arsenal. 

Here are a few reasons...

Paper: There is always concern about paper being "fountain pen friendly."  There's concern about feathering, bleed through, etc. With a ballpoint, there is rarely a concern with paper choice. No need to purchase an expensive journal or notepad, you can even use one of those black and white composition book. Even rather costly Moleskine books are not fountian pen friendly. Also instead of costly stationery, you can use ink jet paper from a...OMG...ream!

Greeting cards: Have you ever tried to use a fountain pen while trying to share a Hallmark moment on a store bought greeting card? I don't appreciate "fuzzy" lettering so I wind up writing my greetings on a piece of fountain pen friendly paper and enclosing it in the card which may not be a bad idea since the card can be re gifted.

Waterproof ink: Fountain pen inks are often water soluble though I've read there may be a few that are waterproof. But it may not be a good idea to use a non waterproof ink to address a snail mail envelope when the weather is less than desirable. No problems with a ballpoint.

Also I think that some feel that you cannot write "beautifully" using a BP. I think you can. Part of my "Daily Arsenal" of pens that I carry around most of the time is a Uniball Jetstream 1.0.

I use this pen primarily for writing checks...yes I still write them. But when there is no need  for one, this is my go to ballpoint pen. It writes pretty smooth and leaves a very nice line.  You can still write decently in cursive.

If you took the time you could write in a calligraphic style though it doesn't make sense to have to "draw letters."

If you're ashamed to be seen with a cheapy $1.00 drugstore pen, or even worse a free pen used for promotion or advertisement, most of the high end pen manufacturers like Mont Blanc, Pelikan, Pilot, etc offer ballpoints and also mechanical pencils and  rollerballs. The ballpoint refills are pretty much the same quality with most of the brand names and they all write about the same, but the pen body is what separates the Mont Blancs from the Papermates.

My wife has a Mont Blanc Dumas Writer Series ballpoint. I swear it's the most comfortable pen to hold in your hand and it is very nice to look at. It certainly enhances the writing experience. Sorry no picture.

I think these are no longer available in the US, but I've had this Namiki Ball Point for a long time.

Ok so much for a break on Namiki...sorry!

The beauty of this pen was the double broad refill that is sadly no longer available. I wish Pilot would bring it back.

It writes very smooth and also leaves a "nice line" though this refill is on it's last legs.

I remember I once wrote on a postcard and sent  it to my late friend Earl of Honolulu Pen Shop. He told me that he thought it was written with a fountain pen!

But perhaps the most important use for a ballpoint pen is...

for those people who ask to borrow a pen. That's when you do want to have available a cheapy, freebie, junky BP like this to loan out!