Derrick's post about his gorgeous writing journal had me thinking about pens.
I think most people who read a lot also write, or have, or would like to, and if you're anything like me, you're always picking up lovely notebooks and journals (and perhaps putting them down when you remember you have eleventy-seven equally nice ones at home already that you didn't start using yet). But for me, one of the problems with writing longhand is pens.
I am super fussy about pens, I broke my right wrist twice in the same place, and it's quite weak - I have almost no handstrength, if I make a fist, I can't hold it closed. As well as putting paid to my bare-knuckles boxing career, holding a grip on anything is very difficult for me. Peeling enough potatoes for dinner pretty much renders my hand unusable for an hour or two after (my children have learned to either peel them themselves, or deal with eating a lot of pasta or rice). So a pen for handwriting has to be really comfortable, and I have tried I don't know how many kinds. Ball point, roller ball, mechanical pencils, fountain pens.
Oddly enough, my two absolute favourites are really cheap ones, about $2 USD each:
The gel ink is smooth as silk, and never sticks or snags on even rough paper. They come in a multitude of gorgeous colours, and you can buy refill packs. They're erasable! (It's a heat activated ink, you get it hot enough, it disappears, and you can write right over it. There's a little cap on one end that generates enough heat from friction to make the ink disappear if you use it as an eraser, hence the name "Frixion". Apparently leaving notes in a hot car can also be hot enough to make it disappear, but putting the paper in the freezer will make it reappear, it's quite fun. For writing in a nice journal that you're keeping on a shelf at home though, no real danger of any of that. Oh and they have a cap, so you can throw them in a pocket or handbag, and nothing untoward will happen.
But most importantly for me, they are super comfortable to use. They're just a little bit fatter than the average ballpoint, and have a soft rubber finger grip that just makes them really nice to use. This is the only ink pen I've been able to write for more than a couple of minutes with, in over 25 years, so I have dozens of them laying around the house - and I can have dozens, because they're super cheap.
Before I found these, I mostly went with mechanical pencils, but sometimes you just want to actually write in ink. I still have tons of pencils lying around though, my favourite pencils are these:
They're practically the same dimensions as the Frixion pen, and have a very similar rubber grip for your fingers, so they are really comfortable to use for me - I don't have to hold on to them very hard just to write. I like the fine leads, 0,5mm but my daughter prefers the 0,7mm, but then she mostly uses them to draw, not write. I like that they have a button to extend the lead, the twist to extend ones always seem to break on me, and these ones aren't fiddly to replace the leads or erasers at all, you just drop em in.
(PS: In digging out those url's, I stumbled into pen-geek territory on the web. Wow, and you thought us book people had arguments over trivia.)