The prompt: Thanks to Paige for the topic idea! Paige’s idea was to have the topic this week be about writing tools such as a keyboard or favourite pen, but I’d like to expand this to be any type of tool, whether it’s a gardening tool or a jackhammer or a toenail clipper. Describe a favourite tool in concrete terms, but also show how you (or whomever it belongs to) feel about using it, and how it leaves an individual or particular mark on the end product.

My effort: There’s a precision about writing with a fountain pen, a precision I had forgotten until last September when my wife bought me two fountain pens to use when drafting work for my OU course. I am part of possibly the last generation to be taught to use a fountain pen at school. I remember blotting paper and inky fingers galore as I scribbled my way up the years, until somewhere in my teens it became acceptable to use a ball point at school. I hadn’t picked up a fountain pen in something like twenty five years when my gifts were presented to me. I was unsure about much I would use them but was careful not to seem ungrateful.

The first is part of a sleek black set, partnered with a ball point in matching silver effect trim. They sit in a business like leather case and when I draw either pen the weight of them gives the sense of drawing a sword from a scabbard. This fountain pen is a standard size but wider than the usual, chubby in my fingers, solid, strong.

The second is a half size fountain pen, almost a novelty item, but it is perfect for tucking in a notebook or slipping into the front pocket of my manbag (every homedad has one). There it will lie, quiet and unassuming until I pop its lid, ready to write anywhere. This pen is true mobile technology. The lid pops on the end to extend the length so that this pint sized pen can sit comfortably in a my man-sized hands. A chain link of scars sit around the lid where I have ponderously chewed.

The cartridges I buy come in mixed packets of black and brown ink and it is difficult to see which colour rests in the little plastic bullets. I never really know what colour my writing will be until the nib hits the paper and I am away. I never really know what flavour my writing will be, until the ink spreads into the paper.

There is focus in writing with a fountain pen and though my chubby broadsword and agile stiletto are as mass produced as any tacky ballpoint, they seem so much more refined. They channel my thoughts onto paper, in wide lines and thin streaks as required. Even the pumping of the cartridge to reinvigorate the ink when they have stood too long unused is useful, giving me time to marshall my thoughts before handing them to the pen.

There’s a precision about writing with a fountain pen, a precision I remember now.