It’s Fountain Pen Day! It comes around once a year, and gives us an opportunity to celebrate and enjoy these things that we love so much.


Our shop is ill-equipped to offer the deepest discounts or to know how to run a flashy sale, which sometimes I do feel a bit badly about. How to join in the excitement, I ask from along the edges of the room, standing by the fridge in the party, snacking on the corn chips. On this day and on every other day of the year, though, we hope our shop and the supplies that we carry and coming along on the journey with us offers you something: something to write with, something to read, something to allow you to pause in your hectic days. At the very least, we can wonder if the cats will ever learn to get along.


How could there be so many of us who enjoy the feeling of writing by hand, who feel the need to get it out on paper, who sketch out ideas and journal and write notes in meetings and carry our notebooks as a shield against twittering and meta-life and brains turning into soup. The utter satisfaction—the bliss!—of a good nib on paper. The ritual of finding a bottle of ink and filling up a pen. The endless hunt for that perfect blue ink. New notebooks waiting on the shelves for more new notebooks to join them.


It is grounding, writing by hand, forming the shapes of the letters, hearing and feeling the contact and the movement. A notebook in hand feels different, more real, than thumbs tapping rapidfire into a phone. Against single-use-everything, a fountain pen that writes for you over many journeys, that carries a barely noticeable patina, is a companion. Something small, to fit in a pocket, to fit in a hand, but capable of performing magic. But I’m preaching to the choir: You get it or you don’t.


Fountain pens unite! Fountain pens unite. There is nothing like spotting that Lamy clip in a pocket from across the room, about seeing a Hobonichi on the cafe table next to yours. We are amazed that these old dinosaur bones and obsolete tools of technology have seen us to a decade of existence as a small business and have brought you all to us. In the small world of small businesses, we lay claim to one of the best communities of people, who share about their favourite pens and favourite shops, who knock at the window to say hello, who read long, rambling newsletters in an age of short attention spans.


I am indeed terribly fond of my fountain pens and stationery and journals and little bottles of ink, which is sort of how we got into this mess in the first place, running a stationery shop in a world where everyone is on their phones in line, in waiting rooms, in their cars, everyone in their little silo of their own cyberworld. Every time I meet someone new and they ask what I do, I have to hem and haw a bit while I assess how unstable I want to come across. The original hashtags were fountain pen users testing out their nibs in two directions, I try to convince them.


This morning, on Fountain Pen Day, unstable pen clerk that I am, I went for a walk with the baby. A hundred other things I’m supposed to be working on, but in an effort to convince her to nap, we wandered through some familiar neighbourhood paths, the usual routes past the usual shops and schools and across the Don Valley and back again. Fall in this city! There is lots of room for improvement here in Toronto, but the trees have got it right. There was a fog this morning, which also seemed just right: leftover spookiness to bring us into the magic of the holidays.


This day, as on every other, rolling over crunchy leaves, I’m grateful for our small shop’s survival over the last couple of years, grateful for our team that keeps the wheels rolling, grateful for the customers and friends who keep walking through our doors, grateful for these fountain pens that have brought us all together. When I take the time to think about it, I am bowled over by how life has unfolded itself to right where I am now.


Riverdale Park East

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November 04, 2022 — Liz Chan



Nina said:

Once again you write what I feel: I too am relieved and surprised to find this inky community of pen, ink + paper lovers.What a rich world we live in, where a drop of red ink on white paper fascinates and sends your mind spinning. Thank you again and again Liz, for opening such a magical store and sharing baby, kids and cat antics. You made my day!

Lisa RR

Lisa RR said:

We definitely have to celebrate Fountain Pen Day!
And celebrate that Wonder Pens is here with fantastic products, nice people and a fun vibe!

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