With Love, Laura Beth

Words from my heart

Pen Quest

I love when things connect. When stories intertwine. When mad hunts end in wonder.

My recent quest for The Perfect Pen ended in such a way . . .

I am a PPP (Picky Pen Person). Comfortable grip matters, but I’m pickiest about ink flow. The Perfect Pen must have consistent, easy-flowing ink—no messy blobs or skips or smears or feathers. Truth is, I had been beating myself up for being so picky. Shouldn’t I be happy with any available pen? My home is filled with suitable options. Yet when school started in August, I became obsessed with finding The Perfect Pen.

One day at work, I asked Supervisor Steven if he had a favorite. He recommended the Pilot G2 and handed me his pen to try. Not bad. Out of curiosity, I then googled “pens that don’t blob” and discovered a sea of bloggers who write about pens! One of the best is Azizah, a cat lover with a master’s degree in microbiology. Wirecutter.com described her this way:

Azizah of Gourmet Pens has been blogging about pens since 2010, and has a lifelong fascination and love affair with the things. Currently an all-encompassing passion, Azizah seeks to understand all aspects of pens, their inks, and paper. From the tuning of a vintage flex fountain pen to the finding the ideal gel pen, the quest never ends. 

What? You mean I don’t have to beat myself up for wanting to write with a well-crafted instrument? You mean I can view pens through an artistic lens of design and beauty? Why had I been denying myself the joy? I don’t know, but Azizah and her “delectable” website rocked my world!

PensWith new enthusiasm, I zoomed to Office Depot after work and tested multiple brands: TUL, Uni-Ball, Zebra, FORAY, Cross, Parker. None convinced me, so I went home and gathered all my neglected pens. And BINGO! I discovered a diamond in the rough—a Pentel EnerGel-X Roller Gel 0.5mm Needle Tip pen.

The ink flowed like a dream and I fell in love.

During that week, I had lunch with Friend Ali and told her my pen-quest story. She shared that one of her sons was also a Picky Pen Person, and that her favorite pen was a ballpoint with blue ink. The minute she said “blue ink,” Ali’s eyes softened and she glanced into the distance—a fond memory had been stirred.

Then Ali told her story.

She had grown up with a deep admiration for her older sister Jo and had tried to emulate her, even attempting to copy her unique writing style. Jo (a right-hander) wrote with a backslash slant and always in blue ink. Without realizing it, Ali had continued using blue ink into adulthood because of Jo.

You never know how a mad hunt will end. I found The Perfect Pen and I witnessed the look of wonder on Ali’s face when she realized the connection between blue ink and sister love—such a beautiful moment. While writing this story, I checked my EngerGel-X package for product details. Pentel was neatly printed in the bottom right corner, along with its caption Spirit of Wonder. Ah, thank you, Pentel.

Quests come and go, but may the spirit of wonder never ever end.

6 comments on “Pen Quest

  1. Laura Beth
    October 17, 2014

    Thank YOU, Debbie for encouraging me to keep writing! It felt good to post a story again. And thanks for sharing such an inspiring story about Evan. Who would have guessed that a bulkier pen could help one young boy improve in school? I love that!

  2. Deb
    October 15, 2014

    Thank you for resuming your writing, Laura Beth. I have missed it. I will add a tidbit about pens in our family. When Evan was in preschool, we were focused on some behavioral and auditory processing issues and, sadly, some learning development such as penmanship (the actual formation of letters as well as the neatness in doing so). were neglected. As a result, his “writing” in elementary school was atrocious…until a wonderful resource teacher introduced us to PEN GRIPS which make the pens bulkier and easier to hold. 99 cents for 3…and they worked miracles! His penmanship still isn’t great but it is legible and his grades improved simply because his teachers could read what he was trying to say. Little things DO make a difference.

  3. Laura Beth
    October 14, 2014

    You are so welcome, Ali! It was an honor writing about you and your sister. Even though our lunch dates are far and few between, I’m so glad you and I get to see each other on campus and at games. Thank you, too, for your words of encouragement!

  4. Ali
    October 14, 2014

    You are such a beautiful writer, Laura Beth–always connecting interesting thoughts and stories with the reader’s emotions. How fun to read about blue ink and my sister. I can’t wait to share this blog with her! Thank you!!

  5. Laura Beth
    October 14, 2014

    Thank you for your story, Shelly! I totally agree…lack of a quality pen should never keep us from journaling. And different colors of ink can be so fun! My Perfect Pen comes in a variety of colors–I think it’s time for me to branch off from classic black and color my world. Love you!

  6. Shelly
    October 14, 2014

    This made me smile! At heart I think I’m a picky pen person but over time I’ve had to let it go. So many favorite pens lost or run out of ink with no replacement to be found. For the longest time, when journalling, I would only use one pen color. Mix black and blue ink in one journal? Unthinkable! But one day when I really needed to write and had to just grab whatever pen was available, I broke that color barrier and I haven’t looked back. Don’t get me wrong…when I get my hands on a good pen, I stick with it as long as I possibly can! But after that day I vowed never again let a lower quality writing instrument keep me from journalling. The good thing is that here in the office where I work, we ordered some ‘give away’ pens and they write decently enough that I prefer those over any other random pen. So I have an endless supply and never have to fear someone stealing my favorite pen! But one time the shipment was made wrong and a bunch came with blue ink, and so those creep into my drawer from time to time. It’s a little unnerving to have blue ink come out unexpectedly, but I’m getting used to it.

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