The smell of writing

I just finished filling up the A4 size Master Dots notebook from Leuchtturm1917. It’s a nice book, and I’m tempted to start another one. Instead, I found myself writing in a new poor man’s midori I made.

Why? The smell. I’m addicted to the smell of the book, and that is one of the biggest reasons.

It’s gotten me thinking about how so many of the things we use to record our thoughts have a distinct smell.

Pencils. Both the cedar wood in finer pencils and the graphite, not to mention the erasers.

Leather accessories. Always a pleasure whether it is a briefcase or a notebook or a pen case. Leather is such a wonderful smell – on par with coffee and chocolate.

Inks. Fountain pen inks range from nearly odorless to quite stinky depending on the brand, but all are distinctive. Ballpoint ink can also be pretty strong, especially when a broad point is used. A freshly-filled page of writing with almost any instrument has it’s own smell. My kid’s crayons come to mind.

I’ve noticed that sometimes this smell triggers thoughts. When I rediscovered pencils a while back the smell of sharpening brought back an avalanche of memories from my grammar school days. The smell of fountain pen ink reminds me of several things. Grad school, journaling, certain trips I’ve gone on.

What about you? What do smells trigger for you?

Inkophile – Fountain pens worth the hassle?

Inkophile wants to know if we agree with the commenter who doesn’t see any advantage to fountain pens.

I can see the commenter’s point of view. I like fountain pens, and a properly tuned pen on the right paper is a joy to use. Lots of cool inks to choose from, dynamic line width, and really nice pens to have and hold. The problem is that most of what I have to write on isn’t that right paper.

So I end up with ballpoint myself. A good ballpoint that is fresh and used regularly will write well. A brand-new BIC crystal stic in broad is really nice. However, ballpoints don’t really have much line quality. Ballpoint looks like ballpoint, and they don’t really come in wide line widths.

For line quality nothing beats a fountain pen.

I agree that rollerballs combine the worst of both worlds. For me they don’t add enough advantage over a ballpoint to make them very useful. The really fine gel pens are fun to play with, and are a little less hassle than a fountain pen.

For now, for me, it’s ballpoint. Now please stand by for my semi-annual “switching back to fountain pens” post 8-).

You want what?

Drag. There. I said it.

While I was thinking about the crimes that pens commit, and the Easyflow, I was trying to figure out why I keep coming back to the Fisher cartridge when I realized that it had to do with the way the pen feels on the paper. Really, it’s drag.

Now lots of folks work really hard to find the right nib and paper combination to get the ultra dragless feeling of a ballpoint writing on glass, and sometimes I get that bug was well, but nowadays I like some drag.

It’s why I like pencils as well. The way a writing instrument drags is like the bokeh on a photograph. It’s background, but also part of the picture. It’s the foundation of the experience and frames subject. Like bokeh, it has a subtle but strong influence.