Limits to the community building on the web

One of the things I found “great” about Reddit was how there was a place for just about every interest going and today I want to talk about fountain pens.

I own a lot of fountain pens. You could call me a collector (or hoarder) of fountain pens, in particular Lamy AL-Star/Safaris, Pelikan M20x and Kaweco sport shaped pens. I have two of the art sports (the one I wanted I really can’t find any more).

I’ve mixed feelings about all this because I buy pens to write with. Sure there are FOMO colour issues there (man, there is a light pink M200 that I love in my possession now.

When you hang around the online fountain pen community, they are all very friendly. But I’ve realised that not many of them write as much as I do (and I use ballpoints a lot too) and their interest is less in writing and more in owning and trading. Sure, they will speak about grail pens.

But equally, they will trade to and from pens. And for that reason they keep boxes/packaging. Somehow this idea infected me. I am swiming in boxes for pens.

I own a couple of vintage pens too – bought in fleamarkets because I recognised that they represented good gambles (so I pay max 20E for a flea market pen). I understand that in 80 years time, having the packaging will matter.

But they don’t spark joy. I’ve realised with both the fountain pens and the journaling things that I although I have used fountain pens since I was about 9 years old, and I have been writing a journal since I was 19 years old, I don’t actually really feel at home in either community on Reddit. I cannot be too precious about pens – yes they get lost and I’ve lost about six Caran d’Ache Ecridor ballpoints over the course of my life (all of them replaced at one point or another). These things – at the end of the day – are tools. I might spend 114E on a Kaweco Artsport but I expect to be able to write with it too. I’m not interested in trading it/selling it at a profit in a few years’ time. Someone is going to clean up when I am dead because they’ll get a substantial collection of Ecridors in a job lot, probably.

Anyway…all this to say I’m not sure I really fit in online any more.