Have you ever attended a fountain pen meet? Do you still remember the date, the place, the people — the whole experience of it? For me, that memory will always be colored with fond nostalgia and eternal gratitude, particularly for the people I’d met. It was our common interest that brought us together, and our abiding love for fountain pens that transformed us into good friends. I may not recall all the pens I’ve tried, but what still stays with me is the sense of community support that I felt.
Since then, I have attended more fountain pen meets, from major occasions celebrating yearly events to more intimate gatherings. What is common though is the welcome that was given, and the eagerness to share experiences and knowledge about the fountain pens, inks, and paper that we’ve come to appreciate. It was our chance to teach and learn from each other. Getting to know the people within the fountain pen community helped encourage the hobby itself, and made us more connected to one another. I think this is the underlying essence of the fountain pen meet.
My first fountain pen meet was a quiet affair, at least for myself. Being an introvert, it was a bit overwhelming at first to see that most of the people already knew each other. There was this long table where they were sitting together, chatting amongst themselves, and exchanging fountain pens to try. I sat at the periphery, where the smaller tables were located. At first, I observed those people nearest to me, and spotted a friendly face. I gathered my courage and said “Hello.” When I introduced myself and informed her that I was a newbie, she gave me a welcoming smile and introduced the others sharing her table. It was quite a relief, I tell you. At that time, I was wary of trying out any of their fountain pens since I didn’t have enough experience to handle the fancy ones that they had, so I just listened in. However, I got the feeling that if I had asked, they’d be happy to let me try and give me pointers as well. This first experience made me more hopeful for more pen meets in the future.
From then on, I’ve joined other gatherings and fully realized how important it is to attend one. It is not just about the tactile experience of another person’s fountain pen in your hand (and being able to decide if you’d like one for yourself) — it’s also hearing the interesting stories that come along with it. Even if I’m not as gregarious as some within my community are, that moment when we’re all together and swapping our chosen ones brings out this desire to share and be part of the dynamic conversation. I eventually cultivated deeper friendships with some of the people I’ve met, further enriching my life beyond the world of fountain pens.
The Importance of Fountain Pen Meets
Aside from the sense of community stated above, here are the main reasons why joining a pen meet helps nurture the hobby —
You can try new and different pens.
I think attending a pen meet is a lot better than an actual trip to a fountain pen store. You get to experience a wider variety of pens — including rare and vintage ones — without the added pressure of having to buy one. Although, the opportunity to penable yourself also applies. In fact, it seems to be a point of pride within my local community that we can convince someone to get the same pen after having tried ours. This is part of the joy of sharing your fountain pens among other fountain pen enthusiasts, guiding others deeper into the rabbit hole.
Always be mindful when using another person’s pen.
this gentle warning is particularly essential for newbies — and moreso when you’re unfamiliar with the fountain pen itself.
You get to try new and different inks.
So many inks, so little time. A fountain pen meet is your chance to test out some of the inks you’ve been eyeing, as well as discover new ones to add to your arsenal. From swatching, to writing or doing calligraphy and even sketching, you can experience the dynamics between a specific fountain pen, fountain pen ink, and paper within the encouraging atmosphere of a pen meet.
Fountain pen enthusiasts are among the most generous people I know.
More often than not, you’ll be going home with a few ink samples from their collections to try at your own leisure.
You are given the opportunity to learn and/or share your own fountain pen tips and tricks.
The pen meet is a unique venue for the productive flow of information between its participants. Newbies can take advantage of the wisdom and skills of the more experienced members. Those on the other end of the spectrum can further the cause, so to speak, by sharing their personal insights and technical know-how.
Fountain pen meets strengthen the whole community.
It is not just the camaraderie that comes naturally when people who share the same interests get together. It is also that boost to your sense of self as a member of a supportive group. More often than not, people will be eager to talk about or demonstrate why they love their fountain pens and inks.
A Few Reminders
Any social gathering requires proper etiquette to help make the event more enjoyable for everyone. A fountain pen meet comes with a particular set of unwritten rules as well. Here are the more common ones —
#1 — Ask permission before using someone else’s fountain pen.
#2 — Be careful when handling fountain pens and fountain pen inks.
#3 — Always ask before uncapping an unfamiliar fountain pen — is it a snap or twist cap?
#4 — Only flex the fountain pen nib if it is designed to do so — and even then, be gentle.
#5 — Be mindful of posting the cap — not all fountain pen enthusiasts do this.
#6 — Consideration is key — fountain pens carry both intrinsic value and personal significance.
I hope what I have shared with you has helped whet your appetite for the next coming fountain pen meet near you. Please remember to be safe given our current situation, attend with an open mind, and have fun.
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Written by @lekzumali
Check out her musings on Instagram!