Posted in The Publications

The Sentiment of a Quill

Being a psychologist, I had to tame my desires to make a social experiment for this blog, but I can no longer resist such urges. The quill pen is a majestic writing utensil, unique to this era’s more *ahem* average pencils and pens. Though still marketed today through aforementioned websites and other vendors, (see “Need Inspiration?” page), the quill pen is considerably rare in use. Yet on the same level, bottles of ink are dirt cheap even with shipping costs. Since Christmas of 2014, I have cherished a pheasant quill pen and ink, but its only fun when two people can share the sentiment. So I recruited my best friend Manny Dylan to help me out with this article. The goals here? Let’s see how substantially different it is as an experience to write and receive handwritten sentiments versus electronic conversation and let’s also see if Manny’s handwriting gains any noticeable improvements when a feather pen is implemented. Inadvertently, we both realized that stamps cost a ridiculous amount of money. Anyway…

Week 1: I sent out the first letter in the series on April 28th. This first week, I decided to go easy on Manny and write in fine point pencil as a prerequisite to the quill. My two cooperative variables here (in true homage to my psych roots) are the improvements due to rehearsed, deliberate practice, and the improvements to change in instrumentation. His response came days later. At first, I could hardly make out the letters in each chicken-scratched word. Nothing was uniform. Each ‘F’ and ‘S’ and ‘Q’ had its own distinctive shape. So the quill was implemented. Within 4 weeks, the progression was impeccable.

By week 5, Manny’s penmanship was legible; a vast improvement from his initial letter. From week 2-5, I had him use a metal-pointed quill pen of his choice, with inkwell and parchment. In that time, I found his lettering became more defined, his vowels all had a distinction about them that made each one identifiable from the last. What’s more? I could read the letter in under 5 minutes! So what does this prove? A quill, whose tale is as old as time, can potentially improve even the most questionably shady handwriting. There are several reasons for why this even works…

The sheer amount time spent when using a quill is apt. I think, maybe its me being a psychologist, that when people address one another, the exchange should be considered valuable. And valuable people, places, and things, dear readers, are what vintage is all about. Taking extra care with someone’s handwritten sentiments improves the letters of each word by reducing the rush and instead making the moment about writing, not what comes after the mailman. Attention to detail to prevent ink blots, and not having an eraser are also measures that help produce better handwriting. When Manny first wrote in pencil, the conflicts were a little different. Instead of having to rewrite the entire letter, you simply turn the pencil around to fix the errors. With a quill, feathers aren’t very useful in resolving mistakes, but they sure as hell look good! This forces you to think about what you’re doing and give more effort into preventing the mistakes from occurring. These are the before and after shots of Manny’s letters to me, Week one and week five. Comment below with what you think! What kinds of differences do you see in our writing?

All in good fun, we both highly recommend the use of quills and snail mail. Overall, this experience has brought us closer as friends. I couldn’t thank him more for letting me sprinkle his life with my antiquated antics.IMG_1326IMG_1327



For over 8 amazing years, it has been an experience, a pleasure, and a journey to be a revivalist. I love all things retro and antique. Writing has been a passion of mine since middle school and throughout my professional career. For all those who are inspired to be vintage, challenge the norms in the name of tradition! We write for a better, more inspired tomorrow <3

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