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Thread: Confidence in the hand.

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    Senior Member Empty_of_Clouds's Avatar
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    Default Confidence in the hand.

    During the lockdown, though no doubt quietly originating some time before, I've experienced growing concern about holding and using my fountain pens. It's a difficult sensation to describe, and I am not sure that I can fully capture all facets of it.

    At present I have 15 pens, of which 7 are decidedly vintage. At first this issue was mainly centred on the vintage pens, but now has also involved the modern ones too. It's a sense, in part, that the pens are not somehow up to the rigour of daily use. Now, obviously the vintage pens have survived this far, and they are certainly well used examples. Yet despite this I have grown concerned for their durability to the point where I no longer feel confident in picking them as writers. I know they are not fragile, so perhaps it was the expense and potential degree of economic loss should one get damaged that was driving this. However, this feeling has spread to my modern pens, all of which were at least, if not more, expensive than the vintage pens.

    There is one exception - I have a Pilot CH912 that just works for me (apart from the nib). This pen I can just pick up, whip the cap off and post it, and just write. What I cannot fathom is why this particular pen does not trigger the aforementioned lack of confidence of having the pen in my hand.*

    Don't get me wrong, I like all my pens, for a variety of reasons - examples of type, aesthetics, nibs and so on. The CH912 by comparison to the others is rather plain to my eyes. I am actually considering getting another 912 with a more regular nib for all my writing - the FA nib just doesn't cut it - and having the rest as a non-used collection (although hardly worthy of that description).

    I appreciate that in most member's eyes I am, in the kindest terms, a somewhat odd duck. Be that as it may, this is a real thing for me, and a bit concerning, irrational though it no doubt will seem to you guys.

    Anyway, it's been a very strange experience, to the point that when I pick up one of the 'problem' pens it doesn't even look right in my hand.


    I do wonder if I've got a touch of minor catastrophising go on in my mind with regard to these pens. Well, it would make a useful companion to the imposter syndrome I usually experience when posting here, I suppose.



    *
    My modern pens are: Pilot Custom 823, Lamy 2K, Pilot CH912, 3 custom made pens (2x alumilite, 1x acrylic), Pilot Decimo.
    My vintage pens are: Sheaffer's Sentinel, 2x Valiant (all hardly ever touched now), Accurate (no longer used), Waterman 52 (no longer used), Waterman W5 (never used), Parker Duofold Sr (never used).
    The thing is, we're all pretty on edge at the moment. It would be great if people could be considerate of others in these matters. Not much else will change the situation beyond that. - Jon Szanto

    Why canít people read responses to glean the intent and ideas being offered, instead of focusing on things like tone, length and perceived agendas? - Jon Szanto

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    My guess is that this is just a phase, and will pass. But yes, it may take more relaxed times and/or a more relaxed user.

    Sent from my Moto E (4) using Tapatalk

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by TSherbs View Post
    My guess is that this is just a phase, and will pass. But yes, it may take more relaxed times and/or a more relaxed user.

    Sent from my Moto E (4) using Tapatalk
    I would go with that for the time being.
    All things pass.
    Maybe someone will compose a song along the lines of "When the lockdown ends..."
    It will end and life hopefully will return to normal.
    Strange times.
    Take care.

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    I think part of the problem is your recent theft of a hard to find Parker 51. I remember you went through a lot to find a 51 just right for your writing style. The other part of the problem is the general anxiety going on today. Between Covid, loss of jobs, the economy, lack of human interaction (hugs and getting together with friends and colleagues like we used to) and for me, just sitting in a restaurant during lunch time as a break during my job. [ Disclaimer: Just my own thoughts and opinions. ]

    The Pilot 912 is a large, shiny but plain looking pen. I have one with a Posting nib (thanks ethernautrix) that is my second favorite writer. Your vintage pens would be much harder to replace in a theft, as well as the custom modern pens. The Lamy and the Pilot 823 which is semi-transparent just looks "different." My 912 to me looks like what any larger ball-point or rollerball pen would be like and doesn't get a second glance from any one who sees it. It's just "familiar". And that may be why you gravitate towards it.

    Just my two pence.

    All the Best.
    "What are moon-letters?" asked the hobbit full of excitement. He loved maps, as I have told you before; and he also loved runes and letters, and cunning handwriting, though when he wrote himself it was a bit thin and spidery.

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    I think in these strange and frightening times, many of us are asking ourselves what is and what is not important and probably having a few more of those ďwhatís the point?Ē moments. If your pens are causing you an undue level of anxiety, you might try putting them aside for a while and revisiting them another time. And, by the way, normal ducks arenít particularly interesting: I much prefer odd ducks.

    Cheers.

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by junglejim View Post
    I think part of the problem is your recent theft of a hard to find Parker 51. I remember you went through a lot to find a 51 just right for your writing style. The other part of the problem is the general anxiety going on today. Between Covid, loss of jobs, the economy, lack of human interaction (hugs and getting together with friends and colleagues like we used to) and for me, just sitting in a restaurant during lunch time as a break during my job. [ Disclaimer: Just my own thoughts and opinions. ]

    The Pilot 912 is a large, shiny but plain looking pen. I have one with a Posting nib (thanks ethernautrix) that is my second favorite writer. Your vintage pens would be much harder to replace in a theft, as well as the custom modern pens. The Lamy and the Pilot 823 which is semi-transparent just looks "different." My 912 to me looks like what any larger ball-point or rollerball pen would be like and doesn't get a second glance from any one who sees it. It's just "familiar". And that may be why you gravitate towards it.

    Just my two pence.

    All the Best.
    And maybe the "cure" is to find another Parker 51. They are sturdy and the aerometric version seems to write forever. No fear in using a 51, except, of course, it's being stolen. I keep a fountain pen in my shirt pocket when I'm not writing.

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    I've experienced this confidence deficit on-and-off with some of my vintage pens over the years--thank you for putting words to it. For me, it comes from particular traits or behaviors: the cap that doesn't sit square, the clip that's a little bent, the occasional burping in normal use, the threads that squeak. Most of the time I can see past the mars of age but when those blemishes have--or suggest--some decreased utility, they leave me feeling like I'm handling a relic. And it's a strangely plastic sensation--just a couple little fixes will revive my confidence in the tool-ness of a pen.
    Any vintage pen from the teens or heck, even the '50s, is a relic by some objective cultural standard, but one of the joys of using vintage pens, for me, is the promise of a temporary release from, as Annie Dillard puts it, the "wreck of time."
    Will
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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    I do wonder if I've got a touch of minor catastrophising go on in my mind with regard to these pens. Well, it would make a useful companion to the imposter syndrome I usually experience when posting here, I suppose.

    "Everything is temporary" so why worry?

    Most tools eventually break. The fact that you can have a writing implement that has lasted 100 years, or even 50 is pretty good going. How long did a chisel and hammer last, when humanity carved its writing into rocks.

    I think maybe you are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. It's not the tool that we want to last, but the writing we do with the tool. We know about the Romans, the Greeks and whomever through their art and their writing.

    People go to the Louvre, or wherever, to see the works of art that were made. Very few will spend their time going to a paintbrush exhibition.

    I hate it when a pens stops working, and I even more I hate the time spent flushing, tinkering and trying to find parts or a repairer. I just want to write, and I hate it when the tools get in the way. I want a pen that I can forget about when writing, so the words go on the page uninterrupted.

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    My guess: stress tends to concretize in surprising ways. Use your ďsafestĒ pen for now until youíre in a new frame of mind. Something will change at some point.
    "Nolo esse salus sine vobis ...Ē óSt. Augustine

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    Reading through the replies, and thanks to those that offered their thoughts on this, makes me wonder if the strangeness of having been in lockdown for 9 weeks has resulted in me focussing on odd aspects of everyday things. Kind of like looking at something with new eyes. It's not distressing, and I don't feel anxious, but I suppose some effects like stress do not always manifest themselves in obvious and overt ways. Hopefully it will pass.
    The thing is, we're all pretty on edge at the moment. It would be great if people could be considerate of others in these matters. Not much else will change the situation beyond that. - Jon Szanto

    Why canít people read responses to glean the intent and ideas being offered, instead of focusing on things like tone, length and perceived agendas? - Jon Szanto

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    Reading through the replies, and thanks to those that offered their thoughts on this, makes me wonder if the strangeness of having been in lockdown for 9 weeks has resulted in me focussing on odd aspects of everyday things.
    Perhaps not being able to go out and easily find replacements for has given us a sharper focus on what we have. The books on the shelf no longer blend into the background - they are the evening's entertainment - so suddenly they have more value. The freezer that can store a week's food when one is stuck in quarantine is no longer "nice to have" but essential. The fact that the pens on your desk are the only ones you can use makes you consider the choices you made to purchase them - and to use them on that day brings their utility into sharper focus.

    Does this give me pleasure, it had better, because if it doesn't it is going to be much harder to find something else.

    Maybe, we need to be in a desert to be able to taste a glass of water. Outside of the desert, a glass of water is the same object, but has less inherent meaning and so we do not notice it. What was "nothing" becomes more significant and is now "something".

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    I vote for the added stress of lockdown and potential for getting very ill manifesting in odd ways.

    This situation has been tough for me in really strange ways. I'm not a psychologist or anything so I don't have a lot of insight.

    Anyway, for awhile I felt really...weird and unsettled when I changed my watch. I know. I sound nuts. Whatevs. The original is this neato quartz chronograph that I had been wearing nonstop since maybe Feb thru March.

    Putting on even another trusted, favorite watch made me uneasy. It felt like trying to type on a wildly unfamiliar keyboard. Or drive a very different vehicle. I felt kind of unprepared or something. Like Indiana Jones might feel putting on a different hat.

    I guess that little change was just too much and I wanted to go back to the watch I was comfortable and familiar with so I did. About a month later I finally got over it.

    I don't know if what I describe is at all like what you're experiencing but I am almost certain my odd reaction is due to the stress of the pandemic situation.

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    Based on the perceptions offered here it does seem that the events of late have lent new perspective. I've never been very concerned about time - oh, I am punctual and all, but I have to make a specific effort to be so - and toward the latter third of the lockdown I found that I had almost completely lost any sense of what the day was. Working from home, and in a flexible arena anyway, meant that I could choose (within constraints of work deadlines) which days I wanted to be my 'weekend'. By the time I got back into my actual office I had a distinct degree of time confusion for the first week or so. That's almost passed now.
    The thing is, we're all pretty on edge at the moment. It would be great if people could be considerate of others in these matters. Not much else will change the situation beyond that. - Jon Szanto

    Why canít people read responses to glean the intent and ideas being offered, instead of focusing on things like tone, length and perceived agendas? - Jon Szanto

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    Durability is not a concern with my pens since I either restored or had the 51ís restored. I know they can be made to work.

    However, perhaps a change in a preferred routine is unsettling especially with a 20% or more unemployment rate is at hand depending on location.

    Concern for our families and the disunity caused by those elected to perform a service is unsettling.

    I am happy to read the OP is back at the office.

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    It's actually quite a mixed feeling to be back at work, venue-wise. I went into isolation a few days before Alert Level 4 (total lockdown) came into effect here in NZ. Mainly because I am in the at risk group (underlying condition). During the lockdown I worked from home, and while my duties were not as broad as before the lockdown, they became deeper. Thus it was that I was busier than ever and, as many of my colleagues have also asserted in their own cases, more productive overall. The negative aspect was not having any in-person social contact for the entire time.

    Now that we have returned to our offices it seems kind of strange to have that social interaction available so easily. Also, the office/campus has distractions that I hadn't appreciated until they weren't there!

    In many ways we have been (so far) quite lucky here. Small population, fantastic national leader (Jacinda Ardern), great medical director (Ashley Bloomfield), clear and timely information both on status and actionable advice. As a result we've had a smidge over 1500 cases, and only 22 deaths. As of writing this post we've also had 16 days without a single new case. The country may have dodged a big viral bullet, though there is still the economic one to deal with. Particularly as our economy has tourism as a major part.

    Anyway, I guess what I was saying is that the change in routine is sort of doubled - one way to work from home, and then back again to an almost deserted campus (all our students are on study leave awaiting final exams).

    If I may be allowed a small digression. Walking the neighbourhood during Level 3, when limited local physical activity was encouraged for health, I enjoyed very much the new silence in the day and the sense almost of being the last person on the Earth. Dramatic sounding, for sure, but I've always been fond of that particular scenario - to fade away as nature unchecked reclaims the planet.
    The thing is, we're all pretty on edge at the moment. It would be great if people could be considerate of others in these matters. Not much else will change the situation beyond that. - Jon Szanto

    Why canít people read responses to glean the intent and ideas being offered, instead of focusing on things like tone, length and perceived agendas? - Jon Szanto

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    People comment on New Zealands handling of Covid as an example of how to do things properly, although your location must have helped adn the ability to lock down very quickly, Bo Jo was too focused on maintaining free will and trusting to common sense, always a mistake.

    There has been some very strange outcomes from this including a new fear of going out, but nature seems to have thrived which is always a plus. I was watching the news the other night and due to the near deserted roads there has been a sigificant increase in the number of cases of extreme speeding, travelling over 150 mph, quite where they were going to in such a hurry is a mystery.

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    EoC, itís good that you can take pleasure in certain aspects of the situation. Your walks sound great. Iím quite jealous; here in New York, there are people at all hours, even now.

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post

    If I may be allowed a small digression. Walking the neighbourhood during Level 3, when limited local physical activity was encouraged for health, I enjoyed very much the new silence in the day and the sense almost of being the last person on the Earth. Dramatic sounding, for sure, but I've always been fond of that particular scenario - to fade away as nature unchecked reclaims the planet.

    I too have been walking. Perhaps we should start a topic where we write about a walk we have been taking whilst this lockdown has been going on? Maybe use our pens to do it- sketches of a walk, if you like. With this being a global forum, what you hear, see and do on a walk may be common place where you live, but in another corner of the world seem extraordinary.

    I'll have a go and post something by the end of the week.

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    That's a great idea. I nothing super exciting happens on our bike rides. But maybe I just need to look harder.

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    Default Re: Confidence in the hand.

    It is a great idea. I've been continuing the walk past the lockdown, as it has now become one of my habits. The 'atmosphere' of it is not the same though.

    And in breaking news, today NZ announced that there are zero active cases in the country! Let's hope we can keep it that way.
    The thing is, we're all pretty on edge at the moment. It would be great if people could be considerate of others in these matters. Not much else will change the situation beyond that. - Jon Szanto

    Why canít people read responses to glean the intent and ideas being offered, instead of focusing on things like tone, length and perceived agendas? - Jon Szanto

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