This is not my review of 2020.
I published my end of year wrap-up back at the very end of November, and December has been fairly quiet, with only a few notable exceptions:
- ASC sent me over its latest Studio line, five pens in all, which has rather swamped my desk. It was an unexpected and unrequested offer, and I’m still trying to get my thoughts together.
- Visconti’s Lava Color Homo Sapiens went through my review mill, just as Christmas hit. A nearly great pen that despite predictable nib issues has got me interested in Visconti again.
- Yesterday the Fine Writing Fenestro Kuroshio that I ordered from Write Here landed. I think it’s occasionally helpful to reset my expectations of what £100 will get you, and this will be an interesting one to review.
- Today my Venom JG8 from John Garnham arrived. I won’t be reviewing it, but suffice it to say it’s very well made and comfortable.
That’s a decent amount of pen-related activity, but actually my mind in December has been on other things. Things like watches: I got a Casioak G-Shock, and a Unimatic U1-MY2, and a Reise Resolute from Kickstarter that I immediately sold. My Wingback hip flask arrived, and new jeans and socks made in the UK, from Hebtroco. Some new records, too. And that lot wasn’t even Christmas presents!
In other words, I’ve been feeling more like a balanced normal person rather than a pen obsessive.
Today I heard from @londonfountainpens that he’s stopping buying pens after receiving his latest, the Montblanc Elvis. He and I have rather followed parallel pen-buying journeys, owning many of the same pens, from Nakaya to Conid, and even selling to each other. Hearing that he’s “out of the game” got me thinking about what my 2021 will hold: the outlook and my own new year resolutions.
One thing is clear: I’m more determined than ever to keep my collection in its one tray, and again curbing my acquisitive tendencies.
Truth be told, I have a blinding set of pens in silver, celluloid, urushi, lacquer, copper, wood and plastic, from makers big and small, all over the world. They look great individually and together, and more importantly I enjoy using them. I don’t need any more, I currently don’t really want any more, and it would take a truly amazing pen to prize open my wallet.
I have some 2020 hangovers. The lovely folks at Kasama are making a pen for me, I am still waiting for a Lamy Dialog CC that I ordered months ago, and Ben Walsh is repairing the threads on my bronze Gravitas. Aside from those, I can only think of one net-new pen that I really want to acquire in 2021: a Nakaya Dorsal Fin v2.
Don’t get me wrong, if I won the lottery I have a grail list as long as my arm: Montblanc 1914, Montblanc Hemingway, Oldwin Arco Verde, and so on. But given my means, those will remain daydreams. At a slightly more affordable level, I toy with the idea of a Cleo Natura in green, a Sailor King of Pen Urushi, or whatever Otto Hutt comes out with next. But those are idle interests, not burning desires.
Only the Dorsal really has grabbed me and won’t let go. I love my 17mm Cigar Nakaya and it’s one of the few pens I own that has no flaws whatsoever.
As to other resolutions, I’m keeping it simple.
- Use my pens, enjoy them, keep journalling.
- Keep taking baby steps towards minimalism in other areas of my life.
- Try to exercise more, eat and drink less.
- Read more books and spend less time on social media.
- Be more present and more positive in an anxious world.
And that’s it. Wishing you all a very happy new year. We need one.