Issue #4: The Grail Pen

The Holy Grail, Baystate Blue, FP Agony Aunt

Issue 4 | 3 June 2023

Welcome to the 4th issue of Fountain Pen Weekly. That’s almost a month since we started - and it feels like the first issue went out just a couple of days ago! Well well - time doth fly!

A term one frequently comes across on fountain pen fora is the grail pen. Everyone seems to have at least one, and the definition the person gives is as varied as the number of people who attempt to define it. Some grail pens are very expensive luxuries that one can maybe hope to acquire once in a lifetime. Some others are one of a kind - custom pieces made to the user’s specifications. Yet others are rare antiques that can no longer be manufactured. The definitions go on and on.

Over the time I’ve been in the hobby, my own definition of my grail pen has been hazy at best, and has been evolving as I gain more experience and hear more perspectives. One thing is for certain - specific pens considered rarities or difficult to obtain simply because of the cost involved definitely are not it. Expensive pens take little more than money to purchase.

A grail pen, according an artificial intelligence

Pens that transcend being mere writing instruments and ascend into the plane of being works of art are a genre I am chary of as well. The insanely decorated pens that have ten types of artwork on them and take a dozen years and sixteen craftspersons to complete are definitely impressive, and most definitely unique, but they are less fountain pens and more works of art made for the art itself, rather than for making a fine writing instrument.

Between the realms of making a no-nonsense writing instrument, which has been achieved repeatedly at industrial scale, and a pure work of art fitted with a nib, which has been achieved more frequently than you might imagine, lies the area in which I am interested. This is the realm where the manufacture and perfection of the writing ability has been turned into an art form. When this happens, the melding of the art of making fountain pen and all the surrounding aesthetic arts is near-perfect, and no result of such a process can be classified purely as a writing instrument or an artwork. It is in this realm that my grail pen lies.

This is the extent to which my grail pen vision is solidified. Added to this, the personalization of the pen to my writing style and posture, the experience of interacting with master craftspersons to produce the pen - all of these also add to what it will be. Even this experience - of learning and growing - is part of the grail experience. May be a few years down the line, I will be bold enough or knowledgeable enough to say that thus is the pen that will be my grail. Unitl then, I marvel at my fellow enthusiasts and their grail definitions and journeys!

What is your grail pen? Let me know by hitting reply on the email.

Everyday FPness

This week, I have been using the famous, and IMHO much maligned masterpiece, Baystate Blue! It has definitely bought great cheer to my working days with it’s insanely beautiful brightness and energy. I use it in a Ranga 4CS with a flex nib I have dedicated to it. Both the pen and the ink are consistently beautiful performers which bring me great joy every single time I use them. Special shoutout to my BSB supplier Susheel!

FP Agony Aunt

From the next issue of the Fountain Pen Weekly, we will have an FP Agony Aunt column.

Do not fear, FP Agony Aunt is here - for everything you wanted to know about fountain pens but were afraid to ask!

The questions will be answered in upcoming issues of the Fountain Pen Weekly.

Get featured in Fountain Pen Weekly!

I'd like to invite you to share your take on fountain pens and related things in one (or more!) of our upcoming issues.

Here are a few things that can go in the Fountain Pen Weekly:

  • Write up between 200 and 400 words with 1 to 5 images

  • Pen / ink / paper ownership experience

  • Favorites in FP, ink, paper etc

  • Your social handles with your FP content - Insta, FB, Twitter, Reddit

  • Any FP-related content you want to call out - articles, podcasts, videos.

If you have any other ideas as well, do share, and I will be happy to think about it.

Any and all content you share will belong to you and will be credited to your name (or a pen name of your choice) and linked to any of your online profiles.

That’s all from me this week.

Questions? Feedback? Just hit reply on this email or write in at [email protected]