Welcome to Penthusiast
Hello! Welcome to Penthusiast, the internet’s newest international blog about pens, inks, papers, and everything related to handwriting.
Here at Penthusiast my friend Rogelio and I will continue the tradition blazed by many other blogs in discussing our love of pens. But beyond just reviews, I want to make this a rumination of all things writing: the beauty of a handwritten letter, the joy of ink slowly being stroked onto a paper, good places to buy pens, handwriting practice, and daily carries.
I got started on pens a few years ago. I do a lot of writing and note-taking day to day, and so over time I noticed that some of the pens at the office were considerably better than others. The first I remember specifically seeking out was the Pentel RSVP, a simple ballpoint that just seemed to write better than the generic Bic and off-brand pens usually floating around. But I never thought of it too much beyond that, content to scribble with whatever passed me by, not noticing that some of them were downright awful.
Then one day I was reading a Reddit thread about “Little things that you enjoy.” Someone mentioned the Pilot G2- the standard gateway drug to the pen world. There was a chorus of replies agreeing with the posted, so I figured what the hell, maybe there’s something to this? I ordered a box on Amazon right away.
When they came I was blown away. Everyone was right- these pens were way better! I brought them to my work and evangelized them as much as I could. While everyone thought I was being an insufferable dork, those that tried them eventually did come around.
I went to a local Target and bought the popular ones: Uni-Ball Signo 207s, Pilot V5s, and some Sharpie pens- the standard ones you can buy anywhere, but all new to me. I couldn’t believe what a difference it made to write with them. I was having fun at work jumping between them, taking time to use each and really appreciate them. But I wasn’t too curious beyond that, and it’s very likely that it would have remained a passing curiosity.
But the obsession was really kick-started by chance. I was on vacation in Lake Placid, NY with my family and taking a few hours to myself downtown. There was a small independent shop called “The Bookstore Plus” there. I was browsing books when I came on a display of Moleskine notebooks. I’d heard of these before being noted for their quality. I picked one up, paged through it. The paper was delicate and wonderfully off-white. The binding was solid, but light. The black cover conveyed a sense of secrets within, off-limits to those not permitted. I tucked it under my arm and headed to the front, figuring I’d see if they had some G2s I could use to start writing.
Boy- did they ever!
There was a whole display. Staedtlers, Uniballs, Pilots, Sakuras, Sharpies, Parkers. Rollerballs, gels, ballpoints, and fountains. My goodness, are there really that many pens to choose from?
I picked a few at random. I don’t exactly recall which ones they were, but it didn’t matter. I took my Moleskine to a bench along Mirror Lake and began to write. Never much of a journaler prior to this, I couldn’t believe how good it felt. Putting pen to paper and watching thoughts manifest in strokes of ink was sublime. It was so much more satisfying than typing had ever been. My handwriting is a terrible chicken scratch, my pen grip made years of Elementary School teachers infuriated, but here was something that I was truly enjoying.
I was addicted to that journal for months. I looked up where I could buy pens and began placing orders everywhere- Amazon, ISellPens.com, Jetpens.com, and some others. My “Christmas List” was a wish list from JetPens (which went frustratingly unfulfilled- I did get one nice pen, but it was retail, not an exotic Japanese brush calligraphy pen or somesuch). I talked about pens. I wrote and wrote and wrote.
Then I posted my meager collection of about 15 pens to /r/pens one day, remarking on my “start of an obsession.” One commenter presciently remarked: just wait until you get into fountain pens. Then you’ll see how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about them, but on my next trip to OfficeMax, I spied a 3-pack of Pilot Varsity pens for $7. For that price, sure, what the hell?
The moment ink touched paper I was hooked. I almost immediately ordered a Pilot Metropolitan, and it remains one of my favorite pens of all time.
Since then, I’ve grown my collection to more than 60 pens of all kinds. I can’t go into an office supply store without seeking a new one. I always browse new websites for something new. I order new ones way too much. It’s an honestly difficult choice picking out only 2 or 3 per business trip when I travel.
So that’s me. I love pens. And I look forward to finally having an outlet towards sharing this passion other than bugging co-workers or writing overly-wordy wedding cards to family after buying them pens as a gift (don’t worry I got them other stuff too).
I’d like to thank Rogelio for finally giving me the push I needed to start this blog, my wife for tolerating my goofy little quirk, Reddit for expanding my horizons, and everywhere that sells nice pens.
Welcome to Penthusiast!