2021 was a good year for pens for me, and for this blog. I discovered so many amazing creations, from Elbwood’s fabulous Pocketmaster up to Santini’s bonkers Giant. But it was very, very expensive. (And don’t forget, you can support the blog with a quick donation through PayPal!)
So for 2022, my main resolution is: stop spending so much money on pens, inks and notebooks.
I’m currently, at time of writing, at 15 pens in my tray, with a Pilot Capless Bamboo Forest, Stipula Primary Manipulation, Scribo Mariana and Eboya Flute incoming. Much more than half of my active pens were new to me in 2021, which is quite a churn rate.
In the coming year, I hope to slow down and enjoy the pens I have. There was nothing wrong with my 2020 pens, or my 2019 pens, but I got itchy for the new and, well, here we are.
My bank balance simply can’t sustain that behaviour.
So here are the rules:
Rule 1: If I do want to buy a new pen, it’s a one in, one out situation.
Rule 2: It’s one in, one out not simply in terms of slots in the pen tray, but balancing the cost, too. So if I want to spend £500 on a new pen, I need to sell £500 worth of stuff. Cost-neutral collecting.
I’m putting a couple of time-locks on myself, too.
Rule 3: I have to do the one-out before I do the one-in.
Rule 4: I have to wait 14 days before buying a new pen that takes my fancy. A pre-purchase “cooling off” period.
Rule 5: If I want to buy a new ink, I need to ditch a bottle (my ink problem is less about money than about space and duplication).
Hopefully these five rules will be easy enough to stick to — especially if I can cut down my Instagram exposure.
Of course, review samples get a pass. I am hoping in particular for one that would otherwise be out of my budget. Fingers crossed for good news in January.
But I’m planning one more loophole.
Are you familiar with the term ‘laminated list’?
If memory serves it was popularised by Friends, and the idea is simple: say you’re happily married, but you bump into George Clooney or Rachel Weisz (delete as appropriate) in a bar, they come on to you, one thing leads to another… well, if said person was on your ‘laminated list’, it’s your get-out-of-jail-free card. No repercussions. You write down five or ten girls or boys that are absolutely way out of your league, laminate it, and there you go. It’s official.
Obviously, the point is that the names on your laminated list are A-list actors, supermodels and pop stars — you will never actually end up at the bar with them, so it’s a fun exercise rather than an adultery checklist.
At the risk of stretching an analogy, I’m kinda getting to the same thing with my pens. I have a ring on my finger saying that I’m really, really trying hard not to buy more pens.
But if I’m out there, just walking down the Instagram street minding my own business, and somehow a personal grail winds up in my hands for an unbeatable price… well, guys, you can forgive me, right? That would be like turning down Gillian Anderson. I’m not going to wait 14 days for cooling off, am I? The rules above just don’t apply.
So which pens would go on my laminated list, that I have permission from myself to pursue?
First up, Conid Kingsize. I’ve already said that the first day Conid reopens I’ll buy one. I can’t believe I had two of these and sold them both. FML.
Second, Hakase. If I get to a financial position in 2022 where I feel comfortable committing a grand to ordering a Hakase, I’ll do it. Of course, it won’t arrive until 2023…
Third, Oldwin arco, impero, burlwood, or similar. I’ve owned a couple of Oldwins and while they’re really too big for me, they’re the best canvas for fancy materials. At the right price, I can see myself going for one, especially since I’m now comfortable with big pens like the Santini Giant.
Fourth, the perfect Onoto. I’ve been too long without an Onoto. The Magna has the best ergonomics and the best gold nibs of practically any pen. My favourite production model is the Sequoyah, but let’s think big: if I could get one with a hammered Seigaha cap band in mediterranean blue celluloid, with a two-turn cap and a plunger filler… I would be a happy man.
Fifth, Aurora Goccia nib. I’ve grown more excited about this special nib grind, and I’m thinking more often about the perfect Aurora for me to put it in. With the number of editions they release each year, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. Right now I like the Viola but I’m not a fan of the Optima, so I’m holding fire.
See, I’m not going crazy. There are no pens on this list over £1,500. That’s reasonable, right? Right…?
Let me know your pen resolutions in the comments.