Why is the Kanreki perfect for me? Well, I love red, and so a pen made of three different reds is triply perfect. And my Kanreki has a fine nib, and Sailor makes the perfect ultra-fine nib for me.
I have even found the perfect ink for the Kanreki, with Diamine Red Dragon. So that’s usually what I use. I consider other inks, but I always figure, why mess with perfection?
And that’s the flip side of perfection, right there. When you have something perfect, you stop.
That’s good in many ways. But I don’t know if that’s an unalloyed good for me.
I’ve owned many great Japanese pens over the years, but I’ve ended up selling almost every one. Other than some inexpensive desk pens, I’ve only kept this Sailor Kanreki and a custom urushi Edison with a nib ground by Mike Masuyama to write like a Sailor fine. The Edison is also perfect, and it has a perfect ink match, as well.
As I found out with the Kanreki and the Edison, a pen that seems perfect makes every other pen in the same space seem lesser, and eventually redundant. Perfect creates sufficiency.
So the perfect pen can be a double-edged sword. To the extent it encourages owning less, and spending less, it’s great. You even feel a sense of achievement when you find a perfect pen or pens.
But on the other hand, I’m not a fan of complacency and stasis. Is always using the perfect pen just being in a rut?
I have one fountain pen friend who likes to needle me that I’m boring. And usually I respond, “dependable and stable sounds better.” But I find myself wondering if “boring” might be the other side of perfection.
I don’t really think of fountain pens as just tools. I am the pink pen person, after all. But at some point the perfect pen becomes just a tool.
Yes, my whole issue with this sounds nuts. A lot of people strive for an “I want three pens” ideal. It does seem reasonable. I feel that way about other things — my car is just a method of transportation. But for me pens have always been fun. I love trying new things. I like fun colors, beautiful pens and interesting nibs.
Maybe I should accept that when it comes to ultra-fine nib pens, I have found my perfect tools. But I can still take frivolous enjoyment in the rest of the pen world. I can still dream about adding other ridiculously priced pens I don’t need and couldn’t possibly justify by any rational calculus. I can be silly and irresponsible with other pens.
And in the meantime, I can at least switch up the inks in these wonderful pens. Find something imperfect.