InkJoy Ballpoint Pens

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On the opposite end of the scale from fine fountain pens are the Papermate InkJoy stick ballpoint pens I bought a few years ago when Target was still in Canada. While there are fancier versions of these pens that are retractable and have grips, the whole pack of these ones were on sale for only a dollar. One of the nice things about inexpensive pens is that you don’t care if the cat knocks one off your desk and takes it to his secret hidey-hole.

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Cheap pens come with low expectations. As far as performance goes, as with many ballpoint pens, the ink does not always start flowing immediately but once they get going I do like their vibrant colours. They come in black, orange, red, magenta, purple, blue, turquoise, green, brown, and lime green. My favourites are the turquoise and purple. The black one is missing but as I recall the ink colour was unimpressive, more of a dark gray than a true black. You could find nicer black or red pens but the novelty colours are great.

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I haven’t had any serious problems with smudging, blobbing or leaking. I also like that there is no bleed through to the other side of the paper, even on relatively thin, inexpensive paper. In fact, these are the pens I use for my daily journal because the one I am using right now does not have great paper so fountain pen ink leaks through to the reverse side. Plus I like adding colour to the page. These colourful pens have a great fun for price paid ratio.

As for how they rate environmentally, they are lightweight and came together in a plastic bag so I give them enviro points for less packaging, although that is cancelled out by their disposability.

If these pens were people they would be a group of giggly ten year olds who love to pass notes containing copious exclamation marks.

UPDATE:  A reader pointed out to me that no pen needs to be disposable in Canada as there is a pen recycling program https://www.terracycle.ca/en-CA/brigades/writing-instrument-retail-based-brigade. While that is better than ending up in a landfill, I still think it is preferable to buy products you can reuse like fountain pens.

 

Clairefontaine multi-subject notebook

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In November I won a medium sized Clairefontaine multi-subject notebook from Quo Vadis. At first I wasn’t sure what to make of it. From the outside, it looked like a basic coil bound student notebook but opening it up revealed a rainbow of tabbed graph paper, and what lovely paper it is. Satiny and opaque, my pens and pencils glided smoothly over the paper. Because of the smoothness there was some smudging with the fountain pen but no bleed through except for the Sharpie. With such lovely paper inside, I am surprised they haven’t done more to make the cover reflect the high quality.

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I am still not exactly sure how I will use this notebook. There are twelve tabs with each tab made up of five papers so would work well for a year long project or if you are trying to keep notes on a variety of topics.

Clairefontaine is in the same family as the Habana and Rhodia paper I reviewed last month. It is a French company with very high environmental standards, both with how the trees are harvested and how they manufacture the paper.

If this notebook was a person, it would be a meticulous student with large glasses whose idea of cutting loose is to use coloured paper instead of white. Their backpack has a special pocket with neatly arranged pens, mechanical pencils, highlighters, and some novelty erasers. This student will go far!

 

Journals

From writing to-do lists to keeping a journal, I still use pens and paper every day. There is something about handwriting that activates the brain in a different way than typing. 

In particular, I find that keeping a journal helps me pay attention to my life. My first journaling attempts were in a little diary with a gold lock when I was still in elementary school. I didn’t have much to say and even less staying power.

I tried again in my teens after being given a journal with a cool denim cover. While it is somewhat painful to go back inside my teenage mind, I do like that I stuck in some ephemera like a Wardair menu from a special trip to visit my grandparents. Ah, the days of glamorous air travel! I still like illustrating my journal with little extras I pick up during the day.  

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My next foray into journaling started in the early 2000s when I was trying to figure out the “what next” in my life after being at home raising my young daughters. At first I only wrote when I had time or felt I needed to work something out but after awhile the habit had become ingrained as a daily practice.

Over the years I have used many of types of journals and pens. I even tried an online journaling site, Penzu, which I still occasionally use. I like trying out new products and want to share my impressions about journaling and the tools I use. Although I love good quality, my budget means that I will focus on lower cost items. I hope you enjoy coming on this blogging journey with me!

Coming next week: Noodler’s Ahab Flex Nib Fountain Pen