I've always been a writer...  Since my junior year of high school, I have always carried a notebook and a pen with me.  After a few experiments, I began stockpiling my favorite pen, the Uniball Vision Elite Rollerball Micro-Point (.5mm) pen.  I used them exclusively for about 20 years until in the summer of 2018, I funded a Kickstarter pen that promised to use a refill of comparable quality.  The Studio Neat Mark One pen body would be delivered with a rollerball refill that had rave reviews online, and I felt ready to purchase a pen that would last a lifetime since I could use a refill that would mimic the pen I had used for so long.  I felt like I wanted a pen for myself, a pen that would be recognized as "mine" by anyone who knew me.  The kind of thing that really represents who I am, and the Mark One would suffice.  In the campaign comment thread, someone posted a link to a review on Pen Addict.  Brad Dowdy has a great site there, and he does a podcast, which dovetailed perfectly with my other hobby of listening to podcasts obsessively.

     After several weeks of listening to this podcast, I became convinced that I wanted to try a fountain pen.  I've always been curious, but never felt that I could justify the expense, especially when I already had a pen that I loved.  With the Pen Addict site, I felt that it was worth a gamble, and I added some of his recommended starter-level pens to my Christmas wishlist.  My wife was gracious enough to purchase 2 of the pens, and I received a 3rd from my mother!  I got to work right away trying them out.  The Pilot Metropolitan was used Christmas Day, and I loved it.  I had to wait to use the TWSBI Eco until I ordered some ink (and my wife had thoughtfully included a gift card to order ink).  As soon as the Pilot Iroshizuku ink sampler arrived, I inked the TWSBI with Kon-Peki (Cerulean Blue), and fell in love even more.  The demonstrator body allowed me to see the workings of the piston filler, and I was immediately hooked.  

     My wife and I took a weekend to visit the 2019 Chicago Pen Show, and we were thrilled to do so.  My wife was reluctant at first, but came home a Stationery convert.  Not only did we spend the weekend learning all about pens, inks, and papers, but we met some wonderful people.  We genuinely had a great time exploring items together, discovering new pens, inks, and papers.  Sampling everything before we purchased anything while surrounded by people who really are experts at stationery taught us that asking questions is not only okay, but encouraged.  Truly, it was a revelation.  We came home with a small haul and a new annual tradition.

     As my collection grows, I find that my everyday life has been... elevated.  Using a fountain pen feels incredibly different than using a standard, off-the-shelf ballpoint or even rollerball pen.  Every time I write anything, I'm fully aware and present in the moment, knowing the tool I'm using is intensely personal.  I selected that pen to carry in the morning.  I selected the ink inside the pen.  I care for and clean the pen to keep it functioning properly.  The pen is an extension of myself, and that makes even the most mundane writing task come alive with intention.  I've even started considering the paper and the notebooks that I use because the regular notebooks don't all take liquid ink very well.  Every meeting, every writing task has been transformed into another opportunity for me to be fully present in the moment, and I could not be happier.  A touch of personality in my day that pulls me deeper into awareness is incredibly important.