Friday, April 9, 2010


As a writer, I have used many, many pens over the years. And occasionally I get asked, as I was today, what the “best” pen is.

From plastic stick pens that cost pennies to gold-plated and jeweled fountain pens that cost thousands, I’ve loved and loathed more than the average man’s share.

Bic, Mont Blanc, Fisher, Cross, Sheaffer, Parker, Pilot, Rotring, Waterman, Krone, and the list goes on. Pens that only write right-side up to others that can write upside-down. From permanent, to erasable, to invisible inks, they all have their proper time, place and use. Thin barrels, thick barrels, barrels with finger rings and some that are sans barrel, it all depends.

As to what the “best” pen is, the answer is almost as varied as the pens themselves. Context always plays an important part in the answer. Are you looking for the best cheap pen or the best gift pen? Is it a “first pen” for a kid, or a “last pen” for a 50-year corporate executive? Do you need it to write underwater or out in space? Do you want to make an impression or mark an expression?

Whatever the “best” is, it is rarely as objective as it is subjective. And there is no one “best” answer.

Except, perhaps, for this.

The best pen is that one which works best for the writer at that moment. Even if it’s a sharp stone making a mark on a cave wall.

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