Have you ever noticed all the pens in advertisements and icons where a signature
is required? Where do all these pens come from? Do the ad agencies have some they
use all the time?
Every year, thousands of pens come to New York and L.A. hoping to make it big
-- as a professional pen model.
These pens, some of them not more than 14 or 15 years old, come from the heartland
of America, from places like Iowa, and Indiana, and Illinois, and other states
that begin with "I" -- like Wisconsin. But the truth, unlike the pens,
is not pretty.
Few make it.
Although many are beautiful, they are considered "too fat" by an
industry that magnifies flaws and induces unreasonable expectations. Or their
nibs are too small. Or their air hole are the wrong shape. They go home dejected,
their one chance to be something destroyed by a ruthless image machine. They live
out their lives forgotten at the back of a desk drawer, spending their days thinking
about what might have been, A few do find work, but mostly in catalogs, or even
on the internet.
Only those pens who are deemed sufficently "perfect" and who can
play the game, become the highly paid models we see and admire in ads and in the
pages of glossy magazines, like Pen World. But even then, pen modelling has a
Many of these young pens -- those who make it -- can't handle the sudden fame,
the sudden attention, or the sudden money. They get involved with the wrong crowd.
They get dipped in bad ink, or SITB. Heavy handed agents take advantage of these
young pens, they misuse them, or press too hard, and sometimes spring their nibs.
In an effort to stay "uninked," the pens don't eat enough,and are sometimes
used to "write dry." They get passed around from hand, shared, and their
iridum tips become irregular. And then they get used up, discarded at the roadside
of penlife like a spent cartrdige of Penman Ebony. And no one cares, because soon
enough there's another batch of pretty young celluloid godesses coming from Iowa,
and Indiana, and Illinois, waiting for their chance.
Pen modelling. It's not pretty.
Text © 2003 MID.
Thanks to Pamela Murray, whose original question quoted at the start, inspired