As regular readers of this blog will know, I have been practising with a dip pen for several weeks now. I find it very satisfying but of course it is no real substitute for a fountain pen. Nonetheless, it entertains me and it has enabled me to move to a second stage in improving my handwriting. The first stage happened many years ago when I worked on making my handwriting more legible after years of ballpoint use – not by choice, I hasten to add.
Now I would like to use the dip pen to make my handwriting more regular and return to the cursive I was taught in school if I can. Also, I want to explore the similar but different world of the steel nib. There are many nibs, old and new, that invite the use of flexibility. I can’t see me going down that road. I was never very good at the proper use of line variation and even if practice enabled me to improve I don’t really like it. I admire it in the writing of those who are good at it but it isn’t for me.
At the moment the nib for me is the Esterbrook Relief. It suits me so very well but I am a little more adventurous than to limit myself to one nib forevermore. There are so many – perhaps hundreds – of other steel nibs available which invite at least an attempt with them.
As you are probably aware I’m a busy person and I can’t really afford to set aside time daily to work on improving my use of the dip pen but I correspond with friends around the world and I hope that they will tolerate dip pen composition from me.
For both my husband and I the most attractive reason for using the dip pen is pleasure in something new. My husband had the dip pen forced upon him at the age of seven and it was an absolute disaster. He helplessly sprayed ink around the page and was quite brutally punished for it, as was the way in those days. He is charmed to find that he can write well with the dip pen when allowed to use a nib of his choice – and a new one at that – unlike the worn old horrors of his school days.
Being a little younger I never met the dip pen or desks with inkwells when I was a child. For me it’s just a delightful surprise to find that it is a really excellent writing instrument.