The first Friday in November is Fountain Pen Day, which is a day to celebrate our favourite desk supplies. If you missed it, perhaps you can celebrate on your own, today, or whenever you like, a little private fountain pen celebration. I celebrated by posting on Instagram.

 

It goes without saying that we love these crusty old dinosaur bones. Here is to creativity, conversation starters, the hunt for that specific shade of blue-black, endless doodling in meetings, treats in the mail, much needed distractions, pens passed down from generations, pens commemorating that special occasion, the endless wait for special orders and pre-orders, the glory of unfurling a full pen roll to unsuspecting desk mates, the first inking of something new, a reason to write, people to write to, a curious corollary interest in philately, adding a fresh notebook to the row of empty ones on the bookshelf, the satisfaction of a perfect nib, the horror of a bent one, the worn in Traveler’s Notebook, recognizing Lamy clips in pockets from afar, being the best gift-giver in your office, chicken sandwiches after a trip to Little Italy, seeing Chicken in the laneway and wondering if that’s really him since he has no response to his name, kids hiding in the warehouse, kids breaking things in the warehouse, kids having timeouts in the warehouse, a shop full of boxes and ink stains and dreams—and the most unexpected and thoughtful community of fellow Luddites and writers.

 

One day is not enough, and yet, an interesting coincidence: November 5 is also National Chinese Take Out Day. Two of my favourite things colliding on this wild ride.

 

We always get asked if we’re going to have specials or sales or discounts and we would love to, but we just aren’t able to swing it. It’s mostly disorganization on my part, these National Days for everything always seeming to sneak up on me until it’s the day of and everyone else seems to have been prepared for it but me. But it’s also just because sometimes you need to celebrate without any strings or time-limited offers or feeling like a marketing schmuck.

 

I am truly amazed by how something as simple and useful and also archaic as a fountain pen has led us down this path for the last eight or nine years. A decade ago, I was literally the only person I knew who used fountain pens, or who liked them enough to buy one. Starting a shop in Canada, in the 21st century, it was all just a lark embarked upon by two people who didn’t even know enough to know how little they knew.

 

Opening the shop, meeting so many of you that are just as curious and interested in stationery and writing and fountain pens as we are, the community of shops on the main streets of Toronto, stationery shops around the world, Partner Shops, all of it. There is something about the lingua franca of pens and inks that means even when you’re in Japan, you can somehow make yourself understood and conduct business in Itoya, you can follow along on social media with people from countries around the world, you can have lists of shops that you plan on visiting one day if you’re ever in France, in Hong Kong, in New York.

 

So we celebrate Fountain Pen Day, Jon in his brand new TWSBI shirt (thanks Philip!), the grey cat having just stuck his snout into something delicious, me with too many pens inked up, as usual.

 

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November 18, 2021 — Liz Chan

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