ritual ink

For fountain pen users, refilling a pen is not only a requirement for it to remain functional. It is a ritual.

If your pen has a converter, piston-fill, or other fill system that requires dipping the nib into the ink, there are certain steps to follow.

First, if you want the ink color to remain true, clean the converter or flush out the ink chamber. If you don’t mind your inks mixing, or if you are in a hurry, you may skip this step.

Next, make sure the plunger of the converter is all the way down to the bottom of the chamber.

Then dip the nib all the way into the ink. I make sure the entire nib – all the metal parts – are submerged. I try not to let ink get into the section, especially for demonstrator (transparent) pens, because those are nearly impossible to clean.

Twist the plunger upwards, or perform the appropriate filling act for your pen.

Watch the ink enter the chamber and fill it up with with fluid that in your capable and imaginative hands will be transformed, with the partnership of paper, into drawings or musical notes or words of poetry and prose that will touch, move, inform, persuade.

Filling the converter of a Sailor Lecoule with Lamy Blue-Black ink.

Though there are less steps to take, snapping in a new ink cartridge is also satisfying. Although to save the environment and reduce waste, try refilling your empty cartridges with ink using a syringe.

The act of refilling a pen with ink forces you to slow down, to be calm, to clear your mind of other helter-skelter thoughts and for some moments focus on this thing alone.

Distraction might cause you, in haste or clumsiness, to spill the ink or drop the pen parts and damage them. Re-inking makes you re-connect your mind with your body as you perform each step with deliberation, in the now.

 It is meditation, if you will allow it to be.

Photoritual taken with an iPhone 4S, edited with Snapseed and Instagram.

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