You can’t imagine how hard it is to type what
you’re thinking after penning what you’ve been thinking the past month. What
began as a baby obsession has now eaten the world. Dip pens, nibs, fountain
pens, automatic
, bottles of ink for fountain pens, shellac and India ink for dip
pens, paper which I hope will absorb the incessant, trivial scribbling and
doodling – my bag’s handles are stretched and its pockets bulge with the obscene
excess of it all.

I am delighted no

I’ve been playing with calligraphy
since I was eight or nine. My holy grail was

aunt was innocent enough to lend me an old Speedball lettering book, and two
penholders made by Schwan (now best known for their Stabilo highlighters) fitted
with Speedball nibs. Mom somehow managed to spare money for ink, and I practiced
my Gothic and my Roman and my Ye Ole English on “intermediate paper (what we
called ruled school paper)” and the insides of cigarette

Fountain pens (unless their nibs
have been modified) aren’t normally used for calligraphy. They do add
expressiveness and a certain dignity to the most homely of notes. The way the
nib deposits ink onto paper, dark where you press down, light where you flourish
and lift, can never be duplicated by a ballpoint or rollerball. Your signature
looks more like you.

Writers are as
attached to their pens as most people are to their cellphones. In a time when
communication has become a commodity, when correct grammar and spelling are
considered pretentious, when you can cram the customers at the Makati Central
Post Office into balikbayan box with room to spare, relishing the curl at the
end of a g is outdated, and in fact endangered.Perhaps pen users, like pandas,
will become admired and adorable. Or perhaps, like minor beauty queens from
tumbleweed towns, we will vanish into homepages that Googlebots never