The road to enlightenment

I follow a guy on Instagram who has found happiness with the Platinum 3776, with EF, F and M nibs. He’s abandoned the double-broads and stubs and gone thin.

I’m noticing a similar trend in my own pen collection. I still own and love a number of wider nibs (like my 3776 Music or Esterbrook Relief), but the ones I reach for most max out at medium. I tend to use my softer nibs with a light touch for a fine line. And when I look at buying a new pen, I gravitate toward the finer options.

I’m wondering if this is part of maturing as a stationery addict.

As a kid, your school pens are mediums, maybe finer. You use dry blue washable ink. Then you discover PENS. You find that there are massive music nibs, brushlike flex nibs, stubs and italics. You also discover glittery ink, scented ink, yellows and oranges and pinks.

It’s a great time as you push the boundaries, have fun, experiment.

Then you realise that the glittery ink clogs your feeds, the bright pale colours are difficult to read, and the fat nibs make your writing either huge or illegible. Fitting more than a dozen words on a Field Notes page or in the boxes on a government form becomes a chore.

You start to appreciate the delicate grace of a fine nib, even the gossamer line of an extra fine or ultra extra fine, and the discipline it forces in letter shapes. You start to see blue inks not as boring, but as calm and subtle. You miss the big impact of firehose nibs with delicious inks, but you recognise that it’s a tradeoff for practicality.

And then you realise that you’re back where you started, a little wiser, a lot more experienced, and a great deal more appreciative of the humble school pen.

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2 thoughts on “The road to enlightenment

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