Fountain pens quickly become a vital and enjoyable part of our everyday lives once we fall down the rabbit hole. But with the joy, comes the potential for some sadness too. In this post, Lydia, one of our community coordinators, flexed her creative muscle to craft this fictional account of a moment we hope none of you ever have to encounter. Below, you will hear what transpires on one fateful crowded train ride between a fountain pen fan and their beloved grail pen. Enjoy!
It started out just like any other Tuesday. I set out with my trusty and long-coveted Visconti Homo Sapiens for another day at the office. My commute is a long one, so I usually take advantage of the hour-long train ride into the city as my time to dump my thoughts into a battered Leuchtturm1917 journal that I carry in my messenger bag. The cover is a delightful, cheery pink, and it’s adorned with fun stickers. Goulet Pens, my favorite place for all things pens, paper, and ink, recently began including stickers in every order so I figured what better place to display them than on my trusty journal? So far, there’s a rather surprised looking goldfish, a pastoral “camping in the mountains” scene (which reminds me of my adventures roughing it with friends during our weekend trips in college… Man, those were some crazy times!) and a calm sea turtle that appears to be lazily swimming across the cover.
On this fateful morning, after I settled into my usual seat, I opened the leatherette cover and uncapped my beloved pen, filled with Noodler’s Zhivago. This pen is a dream come true. I saved for 17 long months, waiting to have enough money saved that the $700 price tag wouldn’t feel like such a huge and noticeable endeavor. Oh man, was it worth it though! The first time I touched the palladium DreamTouch nib to the page of my Leuchtturm, I swear I could hear the angel choirs singing. The sweet melodious symphony of this smooth nib floating across the page, carrying my words as if on the wings of a graceful Pegasus, is a feeling that still gives me goosebumps. I could not put this pen down for hours after I received it, using it to write any and every bit of nonsense my brain could fathom.
Also, LAVA? Excuse me? This freaking pen is made of freaking lava from a freaking volcano!! Does it get any cooler than that? My friends definitely got tired of me raving about this pen after it arrived in the familiar box packed with blue cling wrap and a ridiculous amount of care. I often chuckle to myself over how giddy I still get when I uncap this pen. It’s my little dose of excitement every morning on the train when I journal. Heaven in the midst of urban chaos and congestion.
I settle into the worn grooves in the seat, perfectly aligned in the shape of my rear. My feet are firmly planted on the floor, ready for my lap to serve as a make-shift table. My fellow train regulars are well-aware of my routine. They see me humming away, scribbling on the page, nearly every single morning. A few cast curious glances when they see my stately pen with its ostentatiously shiny nib and my bright, sticker adorned notebook but they never really stop to ask about it. They’ve even taken to giving me the whole seat to myself so I can carry on with my craft in peace. I have gotten used to this little gracious kindness and think nothing of sitting up close to the wall, assuming no one will try to squeeze in next to me. I am soon lost in the world of my thoughts and focused on letting the stream of consciousness flow out of my head, through the pen, and onto the page. So focused, I didn’t notice the train was more full than usual this morning and a new face, a young man with a large backpack and earphones smashed in his ears, was making a bee line straight for that empty seat to my left.
I notice his presence only after I hear the first sounds issue from his mouth through a mess of haphazardly strewn hair that blocked his field of vision. “Is this seat ta-” he began, just as his misjudged his step over another passenger’s foot. I looked up and terror immediately set in as I too late realized that he was not going to remain standing for long. In a flash, this shaggy man was falling toward me into the seat. What happened next is permanently etched in my brain.
In a seemingly cruel act of selflessness, I threw my hands out to catch the young man, cover myself, and prevent a serious injury… to him at least. As my hands flew up to catch him, my body turned with it, upending my notebook and the pen resting in it. My gorgeous, fiery tool of inspiration and beauty was posted and ready for writing, waiting like an attentive canine companion ready for the day’s adventure. Everything slowed down to crawl in that instance as the young man recovers his step and lets out a small chuckle and I watch my prize possession hurling through the air like an Olympic gymnast about to stick the landing. The patinaed basaltic lava, impregnated with the creative juices and hand oils of countless hours of writing, ever so subtly glistens in the morning sun as it spins away from me and edges dangerously closer to impending doom on the floor. As it nears, a drop of ink spills out like a tear from my wounded companion. My clumsy fellow passenger comes to rest in the seat next to me as the deafening thud echos from the floor where my beautiful grail pen has just landed, nib down and in a mangled mess. The cap goes skidding under the seats and comes to rest a few rows ahead. Though the young man is safe, the same cannot be said for my pen. I reach down and scoop it up, cradling it in both hands and feeling my heart sink into my feet, saddened by the knowledge that there are no replacement nibs available for this beloved pen. How will I move forward from this moment? Where will I turn to? I feel so hopeless.
We hope you enjoyed this story. We’d be delighted to hear your thoughts and if you’d like to see more creative content posts.
Have you ever had a fountain pen tragedy or near-miss of a tragedy? Share your stories in the comments below.
Lydia and The Goulet Pen Company Team