Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Most Incredible Pen I Ever Met

Life's too short not to use the good pen.

Being a writer, every now and then someone gives me A Nice Pen.

I have a whopper of a colorful mother-of-pearl pen that was my first "because you are a writer" pen, given by a friend several jobs ago when I had to leave that much-beloved employer. It weighs something on the order of a pound or so, and its diameter is enormous, but it's a great-writing instrument. I love it most because of its provenance, but it's a lovely thing just to look at and great for a flourishing signature.

My current job brought a boxed set my way, a pen and pencil set in graphite casing, just beautiful.

Another friend gave me a pen hand-lathed by her own son; a slender, curvaceous number I favor frequently because it is beautifully weighted. This pen goes with me everywhere, in whatever purse I happen to be carrying.

The James River Writers conference has been a source of good pens as well.

One of the best pens they've had in the swag bag for a couple or three years happens to come from a sponsor semi descended from, or step-related to, the employer I had to leave so regretfully at the time I received the MOP pen mentioned above. It gives me a wry smile, because those who've stayed on through this generation of that employer have not universally been thrilled with the evolution, but they are people I still respect immensely, and miss.

JRW is also a great source for some of the best cheap pens I've ever had. Another sponsor provides snappy little lightweights that also have a great curve appeal, and they often come in nice colors you can find in the drawer. Some of these have lasted as long as the ten-plus years for which I've been attending JRW events.

Easily the most astonishing pen, if we may call it such, is the highlighter with which I do my hard-copy research.

This is a highlighter.

It was bought in a set of four colors.

In 1982.

To steal a phrase from the most intense aunt in my family: I kid you not.

This highlighter was born in the age of pin-dot printing, when static was something we concerned ourselves with, or, at least, the marketing dudes of the day did. When this FONT was cool-oh and futuristic looking. It came with blue, green, and yellow companions - the yellow long since used up, the blue still gasping 35 years on, and the green perhaps lost in time.

The pink highlighter works. It's fresh as a daisy, and has that satisfyingly firm tip that feeds its ink with a waxy smoothness that is gratifyingly dependable.

I didn't save this beast for special occasions. For decades, it lived with my mom. She cleaned out a desk, decades *ago* now, and I inherited it, and its mates. There was little reason to use it, but no pressing reason to toss it, and the thing has aged quietly for all this time.

It's probably more than twice the age of my eighteen-year-old niece. It has outlasted countless personal computers, fashions, even automobiles. Five of those, in fact. Individually, it may have cost a quarter or so - perhaps more, if we splurged on a princely tool for modern computer highlighting work! - but investment-wise, is has outperformed any conceivable commodity in any market in any corner of, perhaps, the entire universe itself.

And it shows no sign of giving up. It doesn't even show its age, though the design is perhaps amusingly quaint.

Pink has, since my earliest research on The Ax and the Vase, been the color for highlighting research for the WIP. I found the subject of the WIP early on in working on Ax, and so I used pink to differentiate it from the drab old yellow I was using to work on reading for Ax.

I used this highlighter. There have been one or two other pink ones, in a pinch, but those (!!!) died. Quickly.

This workhorse, though, lives on. And on.

I have a silly and affectionate idea it may see me through work on the WIP, and finally give up its hardy ghost, fulfilled at long last, the methuselah pen, the ancient markiner, the oldest highlighter known to man.

If not, I plan to leave it to the younger niece - also a writer.

In the meantime, it is working for me. And I am, quietly, but consistently, amazed by the little thing. It has such ... life.

What is your best or most beloved or oddest pen?

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