For the past decade rekindled interest in fountain pens has been steadily growing. People who have grown weary of the high speed, never stopping - never pausing, race toward the Future that is the 21st century pace of things just might be robbing them of something: the experience of the beauty and wonder of the Here and Now, the experience of Life.
Some artists who have felt a disconnect with the impersonal digital word of the machine have found limitations in the world of pixel-based images and have renewed their acquaintance with old, almost forgotten, friends -- pens, pencils, and paper.
(I also bought my wife a large, decorated German tin for her cards & letters)
Some who have recently renewed their acquaintance with fountain pens -- not being satisfied to merely collect them as relics of another time, or as commodities -- have discovered that they can be invaluable allies in Slow Living -- a philosophy that grew out of the Slow Food movement in Europe that builds on the premise that we can do less and experience more (very much like the Arts and Crafts Movement's emphasis of Quality over Quantity). Snail mail has made a comeback and devotees are once again taking pen in hand to reconnect with friends, relatives, and (through groups like the Fountain Pen Network) with new pen pals in faraway places. Concerned you can't think of enough to fill a letter? Start out with postcards; they're fast and easy. Groups like Postcrossing will be happy to match you up with postcard pen pals from around the world (free of charge).
Indonesia, the UK -- less than two months worth of postal globetrotting (fun!)
And another interesting phenomena has arisen; A) someone discovered that (at least in the United States) unused postage stamps never expire, and B) there are enough vintage postage stamps on the market that they can actually be had for a reasonable price (sometimes for little more than their original face value).
these sets, and others, are available from Etsy vendors, such as Verde Studio
So, if you have a fountain pen (or maybe even a dip pen) with an expressive, nice-writing nib -- And if you have the skill to address the envelope in a fine Spenserian or Copperplate hand -- why not indulge yourself in some pen-friendly stationary, dust off your old address book, sit down and write to that best friend from high school or college you haven't seen in years. (Or your mom -- when is the last time you wrote your mom?) Add a few reasonably priced vintage stamps. Seal the envelope with sealing wax and your old signet ring. (There are even new polymer sealing waxes that are "postal proof".) And let Ben Franklin's postal service do the rest. The results could very well be magical!
Postscript, if vintage stamps aren't available in your area and those available on Etsy are a bit too pricy, just visit your local post office. They're certain to have a selection of new and commemorative stamps (my current favorites are Miles Davis, Edith Piaf, and -- my wife's favorite -- a very dashing Gregory Peck) for you to choose from.
You say your handwriting is atrocious? You say you were born in the 90s and have no idea how snail mail works? Well, that sounds like an excuse for another grand prize giveaway to me! This time our lucky winner will receive a copy of Diane Maurer-Mathison's beautifully illustrated how-to book, The Handcrafted Letter. So, sign up by clicking the blue "join this site" button on the right (if you haven't already done so), and leave a comment including the words "Handcrafted Letter" below between now and Friday, 11 January. The winner will be selected at random and notified via personal message on Saturday, 12 January. And the results will be posted here Sunday, 13 January.
You say you'd love to send hand-written letters to friends and relatives but you don't have a fountain pen? You say your discretionary funds are too depleted to indulge yourself? Well, Santa just may have left a little something under my tree with your name on it! In the spirit of the Santa Season I've got a Burmese Ruby red Noodler's Ahab that will be forwarded to one lucky would-be penman (or woman). So, to enter the drawing be sure to join this site (see instructions for Giveaway #4 above) and leave a brief comment about why you would like to win this pen. Dates are the same as for Giveaway #4.
Please note: participants are welcome to leave a separate comment for each of the giveaway prizes, but a separate winner will be selected for each prize.
Parting words (a little visual reminder from the cast, and director, of one of my favorite feel-good films that not so long ago everyone wrote beautifully...)