where the writers are
The Freemasonry of Fountain Pens
Amazon.com Amazon.com
Powell's Books Powell's Books

The handwriting looked, in fact, like a kindred version of Ambrose’s own. He felt a thrill of camaraderie, like that of a traveler who, after long wandering in a foreign land, overhears at a bazaar stall, for the first time in months, a countryman speaking his native English. Tetraktys, p. 198

During my commute to work by train, I keep my head well buried in a book or technical article. I must have a forbidding look of concentration. Only once has anyone ever spoken to me. While I was penning notes in an article, a woman sitting beside me asked, “Is that a fountain pen?”

Fountain pen


My fountain pen also creates an instant bond between me and other enthusiasts during business meetings. There’s fervid camaraderie in that tiny, half-empty little boat in which enthusiasts of archaic writing instruments sail together against a hopelessly powerful current. There’s no headway to be made against the flood of cheap pens, themselves being whelmed beneath a tide of typed words, the abandonment of manual writing altogether.

In Tetraktys, Ambrose not only uses a fountain pen, but writes in the distinctive style of Oxbridge classicists (with touches like the occasional substitution of an epsilon for an `e’). When he comes upon similar handwriting, he knows that he’s found another member of his own, nearly extinct clan…