Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 4: Pens—M.L.M.

Pilot Custom 74

There are some things in life I care passionately about. Craftsmanship and quality are two of those things. Pens are a third.

This afternoon, ironically enough, I spent a good hour and a half flipping through a stack of magazines and perusing through on-line catalogs to find the next pen worthy enough to have the Franklin Classical School font and crest emblazoned on the barrel. Mass produced custom pens have a reputation for being cheap and gaudy. And when you need them most they fail to work properly if at all. And the last thing I want is a faulty, poorly designed pen giving our good school a bad image. But at the same time we do not have the money to invest in 500 Watermans just to make our image more respectable, nor do we want folks saying, "Wow, they must have spent a small fortune on these pens!"

Pens are a tool. They enable us to better accomplish the work we are called to do. Just as it is true with computers when we say that our technology does not need to rule our lives, rather we need to rule over our technology, so it is with the use of our more ordinary and common tools such as pens. The moment a pen stops writing mid-sentence it stops fulfilling its created purpose: to be useful. As with any tool, pens are designed for functionality. But is that all God had in mind when He told Adam to subdue and take dominion over creation, to simply make sure things run as smoothly as clockwork? No. God intended beauty to flourish, creation to be enjoyed, fun to be had. He threw an element of creativity and joy into the process.

Aurora 88 Demonstrator

Tools are made to be functional, durable, of good quality, but some tools such as Macs and pens have room for the creative element of craftsmanship to go into the very tool that will in turn produce quality and craftsmanship when properly used. As Christians, we believe that God imparted purpose into all of His creation. We, as sub-creators under The Creator, have no less a responsibility to create with intentionality everything we set our hands to make, and to pattern everything we do after the craftsmanship and quality that God Himself instilled in Creation.

Let me be frank. I love pens. The Germans make pens that are both functionally dependable and simplistically creative. I probably own more varieties of Lamy than any other brand of pen. I love fountain pens. From the surprisingly smooth Pilot Varsity disposable to the upper scale Waterman Phineas, fountain pens are a delightful tool to use in the pursuit of intentionality. Who all do you know that would sit down and have a photo shoot with his or her pen collection. Hmmm. I hope I'm not the only one. Please don't think that I am staunchly against buying a pen that cost anything less than $25 to $100. As you can see from this snippet of my collection, I have some cheaper pens that I take great delight in writing with as well.

Craftsmanship and quality are two of my great passions in life, but imbue those two qualities into the embodiment of a pen and boy howdy, watch me get real excited!

1 comment:

Ben said...

I don't think I have a pen that cost more than $3. I'm amazed at people who have taste and understanding of pens. That probably means that you don't just drink Folger's coffee either.
I was catching up on your recent blogs and found it all interesting.
What books by Thubron do you recommend?
Ben H