Going with the flow

Gerry McDermott
2 min readMay 26, 2021


While I was hiding from COVID, I spent a lot of time writing. Usually with a fountain pen.

I bought a couple of fountain pens during the first month of ‘sheltering-in-place. I felt this past year — more than any other year — was worth memorializing in ink on nice paper.

Of course, I could have written with one of the many pencils I own — I have a long-standing pencil addiction, and own probably more pencils that I can possilbly use in my lifetime. Still, given the slow pace of life during the pandemic, it felt like the time to quietly write slow-hand, rather than frantic clacking strokes on a keyboard.

Of course, a fountain pen is nothing without ink. So I tried a few and found a favorite.

Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-peki is my go-to ink for daily writing. Kon-peki is a shade of blue that is neither too light, nor too dark. To my eyes, it is just ‘right’. And, it comes in a gorgeous glass bottle that gets a permanent space on my desk.

I did try some green ink. I thought it would be a light, happy color to counter the gloom of the ever-increasing pandemic deaths. But, I soon realized green was more suited to writing a manifesto than recording my time at home. So I went back to blue.

I also bought some notebooks filled with Tomoe River paper. This is the paper that gets positive reviews on every YouTube channel with fountain pens as their main subject. And with good reason. It is very, very nice paper to write on with a fountain pen.

So, what did I learn from all this writing on nice paper with my not too-blue ink?

First, and most unexpectedly. Writing with a pen and ink really — and I mean really — improved my writing on electronic devices. I’m not sure why. But, it did.

Second, I did feel the pace of writing with a pen made me more aware of what I wanted to record. That, of course, was expected.

Now, I’m hooked on pens, ink, and paper. I just bought ‘one last fountain pen’, a few more bottles of ink, and a box of paper and notebooks. Hopefully, I keep going along this route. The benefits are well worth the time and (uncessarary) expense.

Does anyone really need more than one pen/notebook/bottle of ink. The answer is obviously ‘no’. But, then again . . .


Fountain pens: Sailor 1911L, Edison Collier, Diplomat Aero, Lamy 2000, TWSBI Diamond (all with fine nibs).

Paper: Nanami Seven Seas Writer, Rhodia #16 pads.

Notebook cover: Superior Leather

Ink: Pilot Iroshizuku: Kon-peki, Chiku-rin, Asa-gao, Take-sumi, Fuyu-syogu, Yu-yake, Yama-budo, and Ama-iro.

Pencils: Tennesse Reds, Tombow Mono100, Staedtler Noris HB, Mitusbishi Hi Uni HB, and Palomino Blackwing (602, Pearl, and Volume #3).



Gerry McDermott

Scottish by birth and American by choice. Trying to write more clearly, take better photos, and read booksinstead of watching YouTube.