Green ink, purple prose and pens

I’m feeling reather antiquated. I visited WH Smiths and Rymans with the intention of buying a fountain pen. My last fountain pen used green ink, had a broad nib and was used for writing countless letters.  

Letters are sadly old fashioned, but the feel of a fountain pen in your hand opens new possiblities when writing. The look of the ink on the page is far more satisfying and has personality, unlike the humdrum of arial or the crotetchy Times New Roman fonts. 

In my writing playbook a fountain pen would be the perfect instrument, adding weight to crossings out or scribblings of my short stories and poems. The flow of ideas through the pen has a different feel from the scratchy tap tap on a keyboard, with its myriads of typos or instant deletions. A fountain pen, I decided, is essential to my writing experiments of getting into the flow – and it would be fun to play with the physicality of writing, so long as purple prose doesn’t emerge of course, but even then as an expression of thought it could be a relief after the intensity of my daily rigour of the taut press releases I write for work. 

The assistant looked me up and down. I’d asked, politely, if I could try the pens out so I could test out the nib and the thickness of the instrument in my hand. Back in my day this was how it was done –  Smiths had a special counter for the purpose. 

“Of course not. Sealed packets,” she said, staring at me and speaking louder than was strictly necessary to get her point across. 

“She was probably looking for the owl on your shoulder.” my colleague replied when I returned to the office grumpy and aggrieved.

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