Musings: The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword

Sep 23, 2010

I could write a lengthy preamble, and draw a series of anecdotes to bolster my eminent claim, but I would be wasting both your time and my time. We aren't here to read, we're here to learn. And besides it truly is simple:

Dressing the part is only part of the equation. There is no need for a rhetorical question; I assume since you are here you take style seriously. But being an aesthete requires more than a pair of Flatheads and a Gitman shirt - you have to act the part. While good table manners will get you a long way, it's the little things that end up revealing your sartorial inclinations, so I hope you all deem the following foray helpful.

Writing is important. So please:

Pick up a copy of this book,
Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing, $29.48

take notes with this notepad,
doane paper Idea Journal 5.25 x 6.875, $8.95

use this pen,
(or for the budget cautious)

and store your aesthetically inclined writing instruments in this case.
A small disclaimer: As a poor college student, I realize the difficulty in rationalizing the purchase of a pen for over 100 dollars, but; a) every man should carry their own pen at all times and b) Lamy is one of the finest (and a personal favorite of mine) manufacturers around. If you heed these words of wisdom, you are well on your way to becoming the next Edward Bulwer-Lytton.



Do you have any recommendations for padfolios (like ?

Nicolas Lazaro

I personally like Billykirk's minimal journal sketchbook:
Eric from corter might be able to do a custom order for you:
His work is top notch.


I agree with you on the necessity and pleasure of using a fine writing instrument. Might I also suggest a fountain pen? While not as rugged as a roller ball, a fine fountain pen may be had for around the same cost as the pens you mentioned. The reward for the slight fussiness of a fountain pen is the ability to have a tool that eventually adapts to you and a myriad of ink colors to experiment with.


Fountain pens are wonderful but most definitely not for the faint of heart. It is an item that, first and foremost, must compliment your writing style so that operating such a beautiful calligraphic tool doesn't result in a blotchy mess of chicken-scratch. If you have any good recommendations for fountain pens, I'd be more than happy to update the post!


Thanks Johnny for the DP love, much appreciated.


One can spend a lifetime selecting the right pen, nib size, ink, and paper.

At a minimum, start with a good steel nib pen such as the Lamy Safari: You can find them at the expected places for around $24. Upgrade with a converter so you can use the more economical and fun bottled inks.

Between $40 and $100, you will find improvements in fit, finish, and nib metal. Iridium nibs offer a bit more flex and character.

Over $100 and you will start to find more exotic materials. I personally use a Lamy 2000 and a Waterman Carene as my daily note taking pens. Either offers a gold nib that will eventually wear to suit your particular writing style.

Many others swear by the wonderful Namiki/Pilot Vanishing Point pens. At around $130, they are an excellent choice.

As you mentioned, if at all possible, go to a pen store and try out several. A good sales person will be happy to work with you and the slight increased cost over buying online will ensure a pen that fits you.

Imperial Black

Well said. "Writing with Style" will put you well on your way to becoming a man of letters. I'm just glad that they stil teach with it. It's been said ad nauseum but a letter really does say an infinite amount more than the quick, tawdriness of electronic peckings.

Pelikan fountain pens are fantastic when used correctly. However, I have spoiled far too many of our shirts with ink gone astray.

Faber Castell pencils and boring uniballs are the norm around here.

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