The desk had a hole in the upper right hand corner.  A shiny new bottle of navy ink fit snugly inside it.  

I was going to learn how to write.

School decided we should become acquainted with dipping pens, the kind that permanently stained our clothing for the upcoming year. I could barely contain my excitement at the prospect of actually writing with a pen!  (Until then, we'd only been printing in pencil).  

Imagine crusty men of old, writing in the gloom by candlelight, their bushy eyebrows and long beards dematerializing into the shadows.  It was like that but sans darkness, eyebrows, beards, and the candle. I was in another world.  

I smudged and blotched my way through years of practice.  If water happened to drop on the ink, the words would disappear into beautiful blooms of gradient colours.  Writing was definitely an aesthetic experience.  

Our pens evolved over time and eventually sported a little gizmo on the side that pulled out to suction ink into a cartridge. Dipping became obsolete. This was progress at the cost of experiential joy.  

Eventually pens came with cartridges that were already filled. The colour range was lovely, inks came in black, dark blue, and turquoise (I loved turquoise!)

Last week I came across my drawing pens. This triggered a nostalgic fit so vivid that I felt compelled to run right out and buy the old fashioned writing kind.  I initially looked online for fountain pens and was aghast at prices.  I hollered to no one in particular: "Hey people! What's with this???  I had one in Grade 3 and it cost almost nothing!!!"  

Supply and demand I guess.  

I grabbed my coat and told my roomie that I would see him later because I was going to buy a fountain pen. He looked at me as though I had just come back from cavorting with bats in the proverbial belfry.  

The ensuing dialogue went something like this:

HIM:  "What brought that on?"

ME:  "Um, I just want one."

HIM:  "Why?"

ME:  Well, um, I was thinking about what it felt like when I was a kid...writing with a pen, the ink bottle, the blotter, how the ink flowed, how the letters varied in size, how interesting the experience was.  I'm going to get one to write in my journal."

The love of my life still looked totally befuddled.

I rushed out and zoomed to the nearby office supply store. Nothing.  I went to the local art store.  Plenty of art pens but finding a simple fountain pen that wasn't for calligraphy was more of a challenge.  Finally, with help from the clerk, I bought one made by a British company that was way too expensive.  Luckily I happened to have a gift card.  It's easier to impulse buy with a gift card.

Writing with it wasn't as easy as I remembered.  It didn't flow like the one I had in my youth.  I had to shake it every time before writing.  

I tried to remember what they taught us in school.  Cursive writing was fun, full of curvy lines. I think it went something like this!

Letters had to be of even height. I often chewed on my protruding tongue to achieve a passage of visual beauty. 

I'm still having fun with my new pen although I wish that the ink would flow more smoothly.  I have to write at a certain angle to get the results I want.  

It's a writing pen but I can't seem to stop myself from doodling.  C'est plus fort que moi.