This morning, Musubi, a small Singapore-based notebook maker, published a note informing its customers about the end of the road for Cosmo Air, a type of paper popular with aficionados of fountain pens.

I am one of those, who revels in the sound, feel, and sensation of a beautiful nib laying ink as it scratches (or dances) on the paper. In this note, one paragraph stood out and summed up what makes paper so special.

Paper is an analog product, made by analog processes, and everything, from the composition of the pulp, to the water that runs through it, to the machinery that is used, has an impact on how that paper feels and writes. It’s the joy inherent to something physical, and simultaneously its Achilles heel.

Technology has taught me – change is unavoidable. Embrace it. I might miss the Cosmo Air paper, but I won’t be despondent. Something else will come along as long as I have the strength to hold a pen and the ability to write.

If you have never indulged in writing with fountain pens, or have never experienced inky fingers, then it is not too late. It will cost you less than $100, and you will experience a joy that is hard to describe.

September 26, 2022. San Francisco

Today is “the first Friday in November,” which is officially Fountain Pen Day. As we fountain pen nerds like to call it, the idea of FPD started in 2012 to celebrate fountain pens. I have often written about the benefits of writing with a pen or a pencil, but for me, nothing beats a fountain pen. If you have never had the pleasure of writing with a fountain pen, then today might be a good day to start your journey into a slow, deliberate, and organic approach to writing.

In a previous post, I explained why:

Computers have a unique way of making us writers a bit mentally lazy — indulging in a stream of consciousness writing. One doesn’t take the extra few minutes to think about what one is going to write or think about the missing pieces and how they all fit together It is, perhaps, because, we can cut, paste and modify with relative ease. We are constantly in “draft” mode and any addition and subtraction of words is nothing more than a mere act of readjustment. In comparison, writing with a fountain pen brings a different kind of rigor — forcing you to slow down, think, visualize and compose the story before committing it to paper. 

There are many other benefits of writing with pens on paper. I understand, this is a dying method of writing, what with pencils and iPads. But still, experience the joy of a beautiful nib gliding on amazing quality paper, laying a beautiful blue, purple, or any other shade of fountain pen ink. I am biased towards turquoise and lavender inks. I have a fondness for handcrafted pens from Japan and lately have become a fan of Ranga Pens, an artisanal brand based in India.

Happy Fountain Pen Day!

November 5, 2021. San Francisco

Why Pen + Paper are good for you

Even though I love technology and incessantly download productivity apps, I still am a paper-and-pen guy. I love the feel of fine artisanal Japanese paper notebooks and extra-fine nibs of my Sailor fountain pen. I draft my weekly newsletter in the note book. I use it to make my to-do lists, and I write all sorts of random things I learn during the day. Of course, I make notes of my meetings in my notebook — which sits with one or more fountain pens, along with my glasses and a Kindle, in my Dsptch Musette.

My paper and pen obsession has many upsides, as a recent article in Fast Company outlines: Continue reading “Why Pen + Paper are good for you”