Pens have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. My dad, who attended the Rhode Island School of Design, kept a lot of his drawing paraphernalia around the house, and we children would regularly try out his Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph or use his sketching pens or brushes to test out our own talents or lack thereof. Then, too, there was the beautiful engraved gold-capped Sheaffer fountain pen that he owned. It was a gift he'd gotten years before from his father-in-law-to-be when my dad left Rhode Island to do his part in the war effort in the early 1940s. We played with that, too. I remember marveling at the nib and enjoying the lovely sensation of putting it gently to paper. Perhaps that was my earliest inkling of what I wanted to do with my life.
Little did I know that pens would become so important to me—as an everyday tool, collectible and, eventually, career. Though it seems I didn’t inherit any of my father’s talent for drawing and painting, I became an artist of another kind—a writer. Yes, I write about pens. I test them, play with them, evaluate them and collect them. And I’ve spent the last twenty-one years editing magazines about pens.
At this very moment I am at a major pen show in Los Angeles, where hundreds of people will convene this weekend to share their mutual passion for writing instruments. Thousands of pens—both vintage and new—will be strewn across tables as people buy, sell or trade them. Quite a fun job I have. So the purpose of this blog is to share some of my passion about the great writing instruments I get to see in my travels.
Each week I will post something about a new pen I’ve tried, or a new and interesting person I’ve met that is somehow related to pens. Please send me your suggestions if you have a particular writing instrument that you’d like me to evaluate. I’m on it.