I picked up a gift from my grandmother today. A gift that she had given me money to buy a few years ago when I was granted tenure by McMaster University.
She is terribly ill right now, perhaps in the beginning of a sad slow decline. In many ways, she was the person who raised me, while my mother had an enormously successful career as a professor of Education and French at York University.
My grandmother wanted me to find something meaningful and precious. She suggested a fountain pen, since my career depends on writing. So I went downtown to the Montblanc boutique on Bloor Street in Toronto with my dear friend Melonie Fullick, a PhD student in Education at York University and former honours thesis student of mine. She keeps a beautiful photoblog.
I ended up choosing a Meisterstück Hommage à Frédéric Chopin, in black resin and platinum accents, with a medium nib. It has a personal engraving recognizing its commemorative purpose.
The pen came in a beautiful black box which contained an unexpected surprise: a CD of two concertos by Chopin (Concerto for Piano and Orchestra no. 1 in E minor, op. 11; Concerto for Piano and Orchestra no. 2 in F minor, op. 21). The concertos are performed by the Montblanc Philharmonia of the Nations, conducted by Justus Frantz.
I love writing with it, but I think that I have to trade in the medium (M) nib for a fine (F) or extra-fine (EF) nib, since my cursive style is tight, linear and sometimes spidery.
Now that I am no longer sick with the terrible cold that I have had – I couldn’t go see her for fear of infection – I pay her a visit to show her this pen that I will cherish for the rest of my life as I use it to give life to my thoughts on the page.