It’s like writing with a rickety fire tower or construction scaffolding, the mechanical components of the pen shifting loosely inside.
Using an awkward pen like this one this morning, a fountain pen with a dazzling rim of rhinestones and a jet-black exterior—all polish and shine promising a swift writing experience but instead a toppling tower in my hand—the sensation is that various pieces are falling apart, that writing is falling apart, the tower is about to fall over, the pen cap jiggling, the components rattling, the ink well needing to be pushed to work, only to cause huge beads of ink which threaten to drop onto the notebook.
This pen is some sort of fire tower, an observation tower. It helps me be aware. It gives me a view of the edge of mindfulness. It simulates that sensation of being on the very edge of writing—standing close to the state of flow but being held back by the details of the present moment, including its irritations—the sense of still being myself, still being aware of myself. It helps. Why?
Because it also duplicates that moment of restlessness I often feel right before “getting an idea right” or “finding an idea.” It is as jagged and rusty as a sentence fragment, as unfinished as a phrase, cropped by the unconscious, passing through my mind—and so it is part of the construction of a whole. Anything that heightens my awareness of the act of writing, the physical side of writing, including a pen that doesn’t let me forget its presence, well, that helps.