Saturday, October 24, 2009


There’s something about writing with a fountain pen. My handwriting is as indecipherable as a physician’s, and to paraphrase my Grade 1 teacher Mrs. Rarallo,
“It im agi bagan tinaraan hin Carabao.”

Roughly translated, she was telling me that I had the worst handwriting ever. I haven’t changed much over the years, but using a fountain pen allows my strokes to be fluid and graceful- and strangely enough, my handwriting rendered almost legible. I equate using fountain pens with speaking phrases in Latin- no matter how ridiculous the statement, it still manages to sound profound.

Earlier today I took out my old clogged fountain pen, which happened to be one of my first purchases when I started working. The pen itself isn’t as handsome as one would imagine- mine is a dime-a-dozen Inoxcrom from Spain, plain silver with my name engraved on the side.

My first fountain pen was a Parker my mom gave me. Of course, knowing me, I managed to lose it within three months in my dorm locker in Yakal, or was it at the UP Village boardinghouse? I can’t trace where it is now, and to this day I haven’t told anyone because I’d surely receive a lecture about looking after my things.

Here’s what I did to unclog my old pen: I disassembled it, carefully taking out the disposable ink compartment, and placed the parts on a glass of hot water. Almost instantly the dried up ink diffused out of the pen, coloring the water a hue of violet. The color swirled as it tinged the water darker. I let it sit until it cooled.

As I lifted the pen from its bath, hours later, my fingers dripped and stained the tiles in the kitchen. My ink-stained fingers assembled its parts and tested it by writing my name on blotted paper. Lo and behold, my handwriting was suddenly fluid, beautiful, and yes, almost readable.

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