I love pens. I collect quite a few of them, of all types. I like ballpoints just fine, but felt tips (technical pens), roller balls, fountain pens, and brush pens are all great. I love the different styles, the differently shaped barrels, the grips, and the different writing styles required to use each one best.
Now, I’m not really here to talk about how much I love collecting and using pens. Instead, I’m going to talk about what effect that has. First off, it makes you seem prepared: I always have a pen with me, and I never have to use the cheap office ballpoints that either have logos on them or are chained to the desk. When anyone needs a pen, I have one, and you’d be surprised how many people still need pens when they don’t have one. I personally think it makes me more prepared, but some people still think it’s weird and unnecessary.
Fountain pens are the ones that are hardest to explain to people. The writing experience is so smooth and nice, but for the price, people generally see no value in something as expensive (even though some fountain pens cost less than some ballpoints/rollerballs and if you bought one medium priced fountain pen and bottled ink for the rest of your life you’d have spent a lot less money on pens than otherwise.) People think they are archaic, which is funny because they were only really replaced a few decades ago. You hear horror stories all the time of pens leaking and ink explosions, but if your pen functions properly, which the majority of fountain pens do, and it is properly taken care of (this may be an issue), then there should be no problems with ink getting anywhere you don’t want it. But that won’t stop a few strange glances.
Writing instruments do take up quite a bit of room on my desk, which is currently covered in cans that are filled with pens and pencils. This is a bit excusable for me, because I am a cartoonist and artist, etc., so having a lot of pens is useful. Still, no one uses a Sanford Uni-ball, a Pilot G-2, or a Sharpie pen for a cartooning instrument. Some of my other pens, like my fountain pens, are away in cases, but that’s only because those pens are nicer and more susceptible to the scratches and such that accumulate being with many other pens in a can or rolling around a desk. Still more are in drawers. These I don’t get out as often as I’d like to but I do use them when I remember they exist.
All this really leads to is my life being surrounded by pens. I have tons, and it is great! When I need a specific pen for a specific job, I have it. If the pen doesn’t matter, there is always one close at hand. There is a certain level of over-specialization that can complicate things from time to time, but I think I’m good enough at streamlining to get away with it.
Now, is it expensive? Well, it can be, but I’d say I’ve sunk as much or less into pens than any of my other hobbies. Fountain pens can quickly start to really cost you, but I don’t go for the expensive models. And rollerballs are at most a few bucks. The most expensive pens I’d be buying, anyway, are for cartooning and these are Micron Technical pens, which are fantastic even if they wear out quickly.
I don’t know if pens and the amount of them I collect have had a positive or negative effect on my life overall. I believe at the moment that I have incurred nothing negative save a few hundred extra things to keep track of, which is something I enjoy and others might not. Many people do think it’s strange to care so much about what instrument you write with, but many of the people I usually interact with are more artistic and completely understand the need for such developed preferences.
Really, it is a hobby, collecting and writing with pens, and it fills the same space as a hobby even though it doesn’t seem like one in the traditional sense. And like most hobbies it has its detractors and benefactors. To me it isn’t much different than building train sets (something I don’t do) or painting models (something I do do). And, at least for me, I can justify it with always being prepared to write something down.