I am now using the Monami 153 .7 black pen exclusively.
I’ve found a new pen. The Monami 153 with a .7 black point. I have finally given up on the idea that the pen I was using was “the best.” It was just one that looked good in a big pile in my pen caddy. To be honest, even then it failed. My pen caddy was so compromised by the end I had free pens that came with goodie bags from people’s fundraisers—which are, frankly, the absolute worst. I’d rather wear a Comcast 5k for Flag Day than be caught using non-profit pens. Ugh I’m such a snob.
I am such a snob that I am going to tell you what inspired the “bulk pen caddy” look and you’re gonna roll your eyes…
I visited Massimo Vignelli (the patron saint of Helvetica, a typeface for which sycophantic praise gives me intellectual hives) a few years before he died, and whatever I say about the fandom, I was so utterly impressed with his minimal desk setup (literally just a giant black slab of metal or stone with a laptop, a blank pad and a sleek pen caddy with just two kinds of writing implements in it). I have never considered myself even remotely a minimalist (try maximalist pseudo-hoarder clutterati), but the desk setup was so intriguing that I got myself into a MUJI brand black .38 ballpoint pen that looked great in bulk inside a neat penholder. I go through about two pens a week, though, and my hand gets sore. The caddy turned into a microcosm of a fundraiser, as I mentioned, and the system of use I developed had totally fallen apart. But mostly, my hand fucking hurt.
This is a parable about how we wear high heels even at the expense of comfortable feet. Eventually you start taking cabs to avoid walking and the whole ecosystem loses integrity.
So I’ve found a new pen. One that is much easier to write with, that glides so smooth it’s a turn on. It is not one that is worth buying in bulk for effect. It has cartridges that need to be replaced (which I hope is marginally better for the earth?), and wasn’t exactly cheap but also not exactly expensive. It’s an orthopedic pen.
The most immediate effect of this new pen is that I’ve noticed I’m spelling things correctly on the first try. I’ve discovered that the old pen was so cumbersome to use that it was making me dyslexic. [Note: this is not verified of course. Just anecdotal observation. If you’re dyslexic, please don’t assume the right pen will abrogate orthology.
I have an incredibly, frustratingly, unbelievably difficult time assessing what makes me comfortable.
I have no idea what is supposed to feel right. My hand hurts after I do just about anything with it, so I don’t assume there are better alternatives. My shoulders will ache for the rest of my life due to overuse, and peeing will always be peculiar because I’ve had a baby. My eyes tire from wearing glasses that get heavy after 15 hours on my face. Those are disabilities I’ve learned to live with. But where is my center? How many words have I redesigned? Which reflection feels most natural to the fullest satisfaction of my interlocutors?
I appreciate appreciations of my writing. They may be typed by the time you see them but they frequently start in my hand. A strongly worded letter is in fact always a strongly lettered word. You’re welcome.
What feels good is just knowing I am legible to you. It will be ok if my hand hurts a little as long as you like reading me. Even my feet are willing to play along.
P.S. I am also a notebook slut and have three concurrent journals going at any given moment. Anyone else an absolute note paper freak? MUJI was cost effective but since they’ve discontinued the size of notebook I liked, I’ve moved on to a combination of Mnemosyne and Midori MD Paper, to the chagrin of my wallet.