I love receiving handwritten notes. Email and SMS get points for quick delivery but rarely do they make me stop multi–tasking and really pause to take in and appreciate the message the way penned ink on paper does. Some penmanship may resemble sophisticated scribble or even the strokes of a 4th grader yet these days how heartwarming it is to read through a thoughtful personally handwritten note which speaks not only for the writer, but also of the writer.

A writer’s presence is found in the words and unique handwriting, as well as in the individual’s choice of pen and paper:

The fountain pen — no mere accessory

They say a bond forms between a man and the pen that accompanies him through life. The weight, design, material, grip and especially preferred nibs are the elements of a passionate soliloquy by a pen connoisseur!

The fountain pen is deemed to be the ultimate instrument for writing a special note or anything of significance. The beauty of a fountain pen is that it relies on capillary action rather than friction to write. And fountain pen aficionados will tell you that a good pen should glide ever so smoothly and effortlessly across your well chosen paper.

Good design — aesthetics, appropriate weight distribution, comfortable grip — and a well–crafted nib make for an elegant fountain pen. Many appreciate a personalised nib and is why brands like Montblanc and Franklin–Christoph offer nib customisation service.

Imagine holding a pen fitted with your own customised nib made of high performance steel and 18k gold exquisitely hand-ground by Japanese nib master Michael Masuyama. Writing may never feel the same again. And that is not by accident. Many testify to the calming effect writing with a good fountain pen brings as it requires you to slow down and craft your words with more care.

Quality paper — it’s part of the experience

Today we go through reams of paper easily but once upon a time, paper could only be produced in very limited quantities and was therefore very precious. In fact, despite its much, much longer history compared to the fountain pen, production of paper made from wood pulp was only possible in the 19th century – the same time the fountain pen was invented. Previously paper could only be made from recycled linen rags, and this discovery together with more advanced machinery meant from then on pen and paper became less costly to make and more accessible to the masses allowing most anyone to put pen to paper.

This was the time when personal letter writing and diary keeping began. Imagine the excitement one must have felt writing a love letter in their own script, mailing it off, then waiting for a response. At the time the new activity was filled with anticipation especially when the response came: the suspense felt when slitting open the envelope to reveal the folded paper inside, the actual movements of unfolding a letter to see its handwritten contents for the first time, a hint of (perhaps a familiar) scent reaching the nose, the sensation of the paper itself in hand. And then the words start to flow…

“Imagine the excitement one must have felt writing a love letter in their own script, mailing it off, then waiting for a response. ”

Fast forward to now when instant messaging is no longer new and exciting (perhaps even annoying to some), the delight of receiving a hand penned message wrapped up and written on good quality paper brings as much enjoyment as it did in the 19th century. The smooth surface of quality paper offers good ink absorbency for fluid writing. Functionality aside, personalised stationery like the ones crafted by Crane & Co. can also bring forth the writer’s charm through design, colour, size and even shape offering yet another reason for the recipient to pause and take note.

Being green is good, but every once in a while putting pen to paper isn’t so bad. The exchange that takes place around a little handwritten note is still an intimate experience to treasure – especially today.

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