On writing implements

I’m trying to recreate the writing implements of my youth. I’m browsing stationary stores, looking for pads of just the right kind of squared paper in which I learned the quadratic formula, proved the sine rule, came up with a rudimentary proof of Pythagoras, wrote simple algorithms to find perfect numbers, came to a crash course in physics, balanced chemistry equations, wrote film review notes, copied recipes from the TV.

Paper thickness matters. 80gsm is thin, lacking in heft, weight and moves too easily from resistance from my hand. I had an architect’s pad, each page was headed by the company name – 0.5cm squared paper, thick enough to take a bit of abuse, quality paper that felt just a little bit slick, but you could still feel the fibres that made up the texture of the page.

Sod fountain pens, I feel like the Third Doctor when I use them. I need a solid pen that feels right. Balanced in my hand, with smooth straightforward movement across the page, does detail well, paper soaks up just the right required amount of ink, without having to go over twice or drown it in blots. A workman’s pen. Good for anything from a quickly jotted essay, signing cheques and adding personal notes to a textbook. I had one of those – and I had no idea it was precious to me. A comfortable talisman for writing terrible poetry and songs.

I’m becoming a stationary nerd. Is this how it happens, searching for a bit of nostalgia?


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