If you want to go old-school, the spongey feel of the Paper Mate Marker Pens makes for effortless writing.
  • If you want to go old-school, the spongey feel of the Paper Mate Marker Pens makes for effortless writing.
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It’s the little things. A freshly laundered bath towel, a muffin still warm from the oven, a handwritten note from a loved one — these add sweetness to life. I would file a decent writing pen under that list of little things that make life a bit sweeter. Too many pens at my casa these days are out of ink or dying a slow death as I write. Others, though full of ink, are scratchy, which results in labored lettering. The last thing I need is any aggravation while I’m writing checks or thank-you cards. The days of my swirly calligraphy script are long gone. So, over the past weekend I embarked on a spring fling of all the pen duds in the house and began a search for some decent replacements.

And, heavens, the choices in the pen aisle are dizzying. It used to be you had about three choices and you didn’t have to drop many greens to bring them home.

The Cello Superglide writes smoothly, and they’re only a couple of dollars for a three-pack at Big Lots.

“My favorite pen has changed over the years,” announced hubby Patrick as I filled him in on my pen hunt. “I used to work with a monthly desk calendar with small day blocks, and I wrote a lot of checks. So I wrote small and came to like the smallest pen tip possible, .5 mm. Now I use a computer calendar and hardly ever write checks. I’m taking notes on a full legal pad, so I don’t like the fine tips anymore because they’re too slow and scratchy. These days I like the Uni-ball Signo Gel Pen with the 1 mm tip [$11.79 for 8-pack at Staples].”

“I was given a $400 Montblanc as a gift,” offered Pilar. “Loved it, but it’s not something that I carry around with me because it’s expensive. I like the Le Pen pens that can be found in most stationery stores. Sort of a thin felt tip, works really well [Le Pen Fine Point Pen Set, $6.99 for a 4-pack at Hobby Lobby]. For a ballpoint effect, I like the Muji pen. It’s inexpensive and handles like a much more expensive pen [Gel-Ink Ballpoint Pen, .38mm, $1.50 at muji.us]”

“Cheap European pens are amazing,” she added. “You can walk into most office-supply shops over there and get a decent pen for very little.”

“The Copic Drawing pen is nice for calligraphy,” replied Rose, “and it doesn’t usually smear and it’s smooth.” (The fountain style pen costs $4.60 each at jetpens.com.) “The Uni-ball Vision Elite is nice when I want something very flowy,” she added ($3.29 each at Staples).

“Pilot G2 Gel pens,” answered Gus. “The writing is smooth and I like the way it feels in the grip [$6.59 for 5-count at Target]. I also like the fine-tipped Sharpies [$10.29 for a 4-pack at OfficeMax].”

“Pentel EnerGel Liquid Gel Ink pens,” said Nancy. “The pen itself has a nice heaviness to it; some pens are too light in the hand. A velvety feel to the ink which makes for effortless script. I don’t need any resistance to my writing these days — it’s always done on the fly. And because pink! Tedious work is more enjoyable with color [Staples, $24.99 for a dozen].”

“I’m sort of old-school,” said Molly. “I like the Paper Mate Marker pens. The spongey thick feel of the tip makes for effortless writing. And, yes, I know it soaks through the paper, but for most of my written work these days that doesn’t really matter. And I am a sucker for color [$5.99 for a 5-count at Target].”

“I like using Paper Mate Inkjoy Ballpoint retractable pen,” offered Maureen ($4.49 for 8-count at Target). “It’s so much more fun to take notes in different colors and these pens are cheap and decent.”

“Cello Superglide,” replied Cherie. “The best pen I’ve ever found, a ballpoint that writes very smoothly and they’re only a couple of dollars for a three-pack at Big Lots.”

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