Penmanship Obsessive

An essay by Farah Alsharief, Photography + Content Director for The Lighthouse.

Kaweco Sport ball point pens.

Do you remember the first time you were allowed to use a pen? It’s likely that you were past a certain age in middle school and your stationery shopping list for the new academic year included a Staedtler blue ink ballpoint. But I had always found pencils a tad juvenile, somewhat innocent for my taste. You could always erase your hasty blunders, albeit with a resulting cloud of erased graphite blotches on your notebook. Mistakes, grammatical in nature or acutely spelling related, were final and impossible to erase once committed by pen. And white-out y looked awful and smelled even worse. It was of the utmost importance back then to make sure your thoughts were clearly structured before the ink touched your paper.

Despite my best efforts to place my proverbial finger on it, I can’t quite put into words why I find writing with a pen so oddly satisfying. I will attempt a single comparison; think of how you feel when you read a wonderful book like ‘American Psycho’ by Bret Easton Ellis, versus watching its lukewarm film adaptation. I know many of you will agree that reading a book, holding it in your hands and smelling the printing press ink adds a layer of magic to the experience.

And then imagine having to write your thoughts with a scratchy pencil that splinters into your fingertips, or onto a computer screen that blinds your eyes with its brightness. It resonates so much better when you translate your ideas into words with a simple pen. It’s my conviction that writing with a pen does something for the soul the same way reading a good book does.

I’m 32 years old and still prefer a ballpoint as my writing instrument of choice. But I’m more design conscious now and so my old trusty Staedtler has been replaced by its much cooler, younger cousin from Heidelberg, Kaweco. Created in 1883, Kaweco is well known for its functional design, created with different persuasions in mind. Mind you, back in 1911, some Kaweco pens were specifically marketed towards women. (Though the reasoning behind this escapes me.) That aside, I would simply like to emphasize the sheer fabulousness of a Classic Sport ballpoint Kaweco pen in the colour “Stone Washed” – my favorite for its likeness to denim.

To have your own experience with Farah’s favourite pen, head to The Lighthouse at  Building 6, Dubai Design District. And stay tuned for the launch of  thelighthouse.ae

Farah Alsharief