One thing I hope to do with That One Pen is to bring a bit of irreverence and fun to pen reviewing while keeping things fairly simple. I’ll review ballpoints, rollerballs, gels and, of course, fountain pens. To keep things simple, I’ll mostly be using Fields Notes paper for my reviews and a straightforward ink like Waterman Florida Blue when I consider fountain pens.
Why Field Notes? Well, perhaps like you, I don’t actually do that much writing by hand on a day-to-day basis. I’m a high school science teacher who takes plenty of notes in meetings and jots down to-do lists and other quick notes to myself, but I‘m certainly not pulling a Neal Stephenson and trying to write my next novel with a fountain pen (although that would be really cool and you absolutely should read some Stephenson). Of course I do a fair amount of grading with pen and paper (technology is making that process a bit obsolete too) and I take the time to find the right pen and ink to make that drudgery a bit more fun. Anyway, a Field Notes notebook is usually with me one way or another.
Why Waterman Florida Blue? It’s an extremely well-behaved ink (good flow with little to no feathering), it’s widely available and its blue color is a fair compromise of good looks and appropriate for just about all occasions.
When I review a pen or related items I’ll offer some general commentary and I’ll ultimately give the item one of the following marks:
“Bin It” – As in put it in the recycling bin and never look back. In my professional world, this pen would get an F or a D letter grade.
“Give It” – It’s a decent pen but not one I’m ever likely to seek out. Maybe someone else would like the pen and, unlike the “Bin It” pens, it has its bright spots. Something along the lines of a C grade.
“Desk It” – A good pen. I’d like to have it handy but don’t feel like it needs to be with me at all or most times. We’re in the B range now.
“Carry It” – Now we’re talking. This is a pen that I would use frequently and wouldn’t want it too far out of reach. It’s the kind of pen I take with me when I run errands (yes, I carry pens when I do errands – don’t you?). A solid A- to A kind of pen.
“That One Pen” – This will be my highest rating and one reserved for the truly deserving. Now, it’s likely that they’ll be multiple “That One Pen” just as I have more than one “among the best students of my career” in my teaching world. A+ stuff.
I’ll also offer some analogies and metaphors for the pens I review. Like all of us, I have plenty of other interests and I hope to bring those interests into my pen blogging. Perhaps I’ll compare pens to well-known scientists (I really am a science nerd) or athletes or cities or works of art or…who knows. The options are endless and if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a teacher it’s that analogies and metaphors can be powerful explanatory tools.
Let the pen reviewing begin!