I've been going through a particularly busy time in my "other" life and job, with several days that stretched into the wee hours of the morning. While that's unfortunately taken away from the time I've been able to spend with my more "fun" pens, it's also given me a chance to reflect on what I turn to when I don't have the time or the desire to think about what it is that I'm using. Sometimes you just want to reach for something easy, that you know will work, and most of all, that isn't distracting to you or the people that you're working with. Here's what I've been favoring over the past month, ranked in order of preference:
- Schmidt Easyflow 9000 Ballpoint. I find rollerballs too temperamental, including the Schmidt P8126 and P8127 that ships with the Retro 51 Tornado and the Baron Fig Squire. I prefer ballpoints and hybrid ballpoint pens, and typically will carry multiple pens loaded with Schmidt's ballpoint refill in my work briefcase. Currently, I have a blue Easyflow 9000 in my Squire, and a black version in my Steel & Flint pen. These smooth writing refills are great for writing longhand, and don't require much pressure to use at all (which can be a drawback for some ballpoint pens).
- Sailor "Chalana" D1 Refill. I've been using a LOT of multipens lately, and the one that's received the most use has been the Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black, mainly because it has a mechanical pencil function. And at under $40, it's a relatively sturdy and inexpensive pen to travel with. Sailor's Chalana ballpoint refill is also excellent - it's a traditional ballpoint but writes smoothly and leaves a dark line, even with a very fine point. One of my purchases from the past few months that has served me well.
- Uniball Jetstream D1 Refill. It hasn't received as much love as the Sailor Imperial Black, but my Lamy 2000 Multipen is loaded with these Uniball Jetstream D1 refills and they're great. I prefer the .5mm.
- Blue Fountain Pen Ink. I've gone with a generic category here because when I get really, really busy, I don't put much though into what fountain pen ink I'm using other than "will it write on most papers" and "will it be distracting for other people to look at?" Currently, I have pens loaded with various blue or blue-black inks, including Bung Box Sapphire, Blackstone Barrister's Blue, and Iroshizuku Asa-Gao. (For an in-depth look at some other "workhorse inks" that I rely on, check out this list I did a while back.)
- Orange Ink. Lately, I've been editing in orange ink, as opposed to red, because I've been working on a project with five or six other people and I wanted them to be able to distinguish my comments and annotations from everyone else's. On the fountain pen side, I've favored Sailor Jentle Apricot, though I've also been using the Orange .38mm Uni Style Fit refill and the Orange Uniball Vision Elite (Micro Tip).
But what about the pens? Honestly, when I'm this busy, I pay more attention to inks and refills than I do to the pens themselves. If I'm rushing out of the house in the morning, whichever pen is convenient and/or full will probably end up going with me to work. (On a really busy day, I can empty two standard converters.) As I mentioned, my Baron Fig Squire and my Lamy and Sailor Multipens have been busy, and on the fountain pen side I've stuck to workhorses like the Lamy 2000 and my Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black (fountain pen). I still have a ton of pens inked at the moment, so I'll have to mix things up next week.
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