Tuesday, May 26, 2020

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Journal of a Lockdown No. 75

From John Updike’s “Unstuck,” written with a vintage Parker Vacumatic (ca. 1940s)

At some point during the day, I toy around with fountain pens. I have a humble collection, just enough to fit in a small pencil case--which is to say that there aren't a lot of them. (I know of collectors who have hundreds. I follow some of them in Instagram, which has a vibrant fountain pen community). Included in this collection are vintage pens. These pens--such as this emerald pearl Parker Vacumatic blue diamond, double-jewel--are sturdy, elegant, secretive. I got them from vintage stores online, and only at bargain prices. I will probably never know who owned them or what the first owners had used the pen for. Could it be that this Vacumatic was owned by an English teacher in England? (I got this pen from a kind and welcoming dealer in London).

The passage above is an excerpt from John Updike's short story, "Unstuck." (Link to a Google Books screenshot).  It's a story of a husband and wife who drive their cars out of the gutter after a night of heavy snow. You will see smudges in the careless and carefree handwriting, blurring the first two paragraphs. I was excited to take a photo of my notebook (a Veco sketchpad, very fountain pen friendly!) and I forgot that the ink had not dried up yet.

Parker Vacumatic (1940s)

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