Pen and Ink

After all the grumping I did about my Morning Pages notebooks being discontinued, I’m getting used to the new model, which I started using a couple of days ago. The transition was marked by one of those just-enough-milk-in-the-cereal-bowl moments that make a day special: my pen ran out of ink on the final paragraph of the final page of the old model notebook.

I took this as a Sign that it was time to talk about my current Favorite Pen.

It is not a Mont Blanc.

A good pen is important for Morning Pages work.  You want something that glides across the page, doesn’t leave behind blobs of ink, clips nicely to your notebook or slides inside the spiral so it’s there when you need it, and (if you have small hands), isn’t too chunky or so heavy you’re aware of it. You also want it Not Expensive in case it rolls off the table and down a register at the neighborhood coffee shop.

A few years ago I discovered the Uni-ball Jetstream, which not only writes clearly and without fuss but has three nifty windows near the business end that let you see how low the ink is getting!

Jetstreams also are refillable. The refills aren’t necessarily stocked in the office superstores, but they’re readily available online. I’ve been buying them a handful at a time when I order toner or inkjet cartridges, ordering just enough to bump up the order to the Free Shipping level. Last autumn I lucked into a great sale so now I’m set for the next four years. (I tracked this once; a refill lasts me about a month, or 90-some pages).

If I were you, I’d get yours now, because when I like a product, it’s the kiss of death.

A certain brand of Tropicana guava-strawberry juice? Forget it.

Product managers at Walgreens routinely discontinue any personal care product I buy more than three times (“Look! She just bought White Rain conditioner and Act cinnamon-flavor fluoride rinse! Better drop those from the inventory”).

And has anybody tried to buy leggings recently–ones that go all the way to the ankle instead of stopping mid-calf?

My fault entirely.

© 2010 Anne Bingham and Making It Up as I Go

This entry was posted in Product Reviews (writer stuff), The Writing Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Pen and Ink

  1. Mike Starr says:

    I’m particularly fond of Uni-ball Vision Elite in red and blue (not the evil blue/black)… they write well in bright, clear colors. The only thing I don’t like about them is the ink takes a few seconds to dry so smudging happens if you’re not careful.

    I know what you mean about products disappearing… it happens to me all the time. Whether it’s food products or personal care products, as soon as I find something I really like it disappears from store shelves. I do not, however, buy leggings.


    • Anne Bingham says:

      Mike, I have a Vision Elite, too, in a blue that matches the color of the printing on my business letterhead and notecards. It takes more than “a few seconds” to dry, though; more like several minutes. {have written and discarded several replies to the “leggings” comment}


  2. Susan says:

    I do love a good pen. I’m partial to any chubby, “pretty” pens that don’t leave ink blobs on the page. I’ll have to try this uni-ball jetstream.


    • Anne Bingham says:

      Susan, I’m looking for a good mini pen in a bright color for my purse, and some of them are chubby. If I find one that doesn’t quit writing after 5 lines I’ll let you know!


  3. Deb says:

    I am still on a hunt for the perfect pen! I’ll have to try yours.

    Recently, I received a stack of note pads as a gift, each with beautiful printing on the edge of the chunky pad. A filigree- designed pen was attached at the top, and it writes beautifully. But, alas, no brand name, and who knows what country produced the pad and pen set.

    The search continues!


  4. Karin says:

    Leggings?!?! I don’t think I have bought those since my father bought me a pair back in 1985…LOL


  5. MaryWitzl says:

    This is utterly eerie: I love a good pen that writes a fine, thin line without blobs or smears; I too have been passionate about certain Tropicana juices (mango, orange and papaya for me, but guava-strawberry sounds incredible), and I would give my eyeteeth for a decent pair of cotton leggings that go all the way past my ankles. I thought I was the kiss of death for all of these things, but now I find out it’s you too!

    Our power should be used for good alone, you know.


  6. You’re right, the right pen is so important. And the right notebook! When I did morning pages I’d find gorgeous books from Borders: I was surprised by the awesomeness of the Borders notebook selection! The right scrawling of pen on paper alone is worth the effort of writing.


    • Anne Bingham says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Shannon. I’ve found drop-dead notebooks at B&N, but I carry them in my purse for random note-taking rather than morning pages. The last entry was: “Is there a difference between pitching an agent and pitching an editor?” (I don’t think there is, but it was a question I wanted to ask at a workshop recently.)


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