Colin McEnroe Show: Pens On Parade

In a world of high-speed texts and e-mail, who cares anymore about pens?

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Colin McEnroe Show: Pens On Parade
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Colin McEnroe Show: Pens On Parade

People get superstitious about pens. Even people who can't afford an "ownership experience" pen like a Montblanc.

Jon from New Haven tells us - "I like to write with a cheap, BLUE bic ballpoint pen. I believe that with blue pen, my creative writing improves and, conversely, if I journal in black, I suspect that my life will swiftly go downhill. This is probably untrue, but I haven't tested it empirically. "

The CEO of Mont Blanc pens was in Hartford today, so we had to do a show about writing implements.

Obviously, itty-bitty keypads are slowly gobbling up the functions of pens and pencils, but it doesn't seem possible that we'll evolve into a non-writing species any time soon.

And all the technology that can be poured into a PDA can also be used to building a better pen or pencil.  For today's show, we investigated one of each-- writing implements so unconventional that they appear to have been dropped on the ground by one of the time-traveling members of the rebel resistance in a Terminator movie. And you know those guys used pens -- just to annoy the cyborgs.

We also made a date to find out more about the pens being used in the heyday of Hartford writing -- the pens Mark Twain and maybe Harriet Beecher Stowe used on Nook Farm.

Anyone know what Hartford's Wallace Stevens used?

We already heard from Christian who told us:

"I prefer a Zebra F301 because it takes a beating, has indelible ink, and is compact and comfortable. It writes sharply and smoothly and won't break the bank if I lose it or break it. Perfect for industrial environments. I also enjoy turning my own pens, but wind up mostly giving them as gifts instead of using them myself."  

On Facebook, Ruth wrote:
"Whatever's handy. I've used everything from the kind you dip in India ink to those funky misprint pens that come from a famous job lot store. My Koh-i-noor Refillable India Ink Pen gets a workout some weeks. I do actually own a Mont Blanc fountain pen, but haven't used it in years. It's too darned expensive to lose if I use it outside of the house, and not fine enough to draw with."

You can join the conversation. Leave your comments below, e-mail or Tweet us @wnprcolin.



E-mail from Wendy

I like blue bic pens.
Your show was great because of you, you are so funny but you put yourself down too much, though
You are not that old, as you make yourself out to be!
we love you colin!

Brenda on facebook

I like a pen with a little bit of drag, otherwise my writing gets sloppy. I prefer black ink to blue ink - it's easier to read against white paper. I also prefer a nice thick pen - maybe because I don't have to grip it as hard as a thin pen. I especially love those old fashioned looking pens, the ones that look like the pens you dipped in ink. I actually had a few ink pens where you put the cartridge inside the pen and it writes with a "nib" like the ones used in calligraphy. Again, it has a nice "drag" to it. I suspect that people who write for a living -- even if much of that is done on the computer -- have developed specific preferences when it comes to pens.

E-mail from Georg

Back in the days I was addicted to an old yellow Bic stick pen, A photographer took a publicity photo of me with a Hasselblad, the best camera in the world. Later in life, when I met Al Ginsberg I was impressed when he pulled out a Mt Blanc and made myself a promise that someday I to will be successful enough to be in the same league of these fine men..
I still have some of those old Bics and have graduated to UniBalls, but I'm far from a Mt Blanc (sigh.)

E-mail from Paul

I can tell you what happens to a lefty trying to use a fountain pen.

At least from the perspective of a person attending Catholic school in the early 60’s.

You were forced to scribe with your right hand to prevent smudging etc.

God must have been right handed.