Hello, Ateleia!

It did not sport a nib, but its sleek look was just too desirable to ignore. I just couldn’t stop playing with the brass Ateleia that the great enabler had lying about, even though it’s been ages since I’ve picked up a gel tip or rollerball.

The warm, patinated surface looked great but I figured a lighter feel would make for a better pen. As if on cue, Ateleia stoked the fire by posting IG and FB snaps of a raw aluminum variant that was every bit as attractive as their initial release. A few mouse clicks quickly sent one of these featherweights my way.

Fountain pen nuts will eat crow before praising a biro derivative as a great writer. Well, I ate a flock, and then some. 

The pen is somewhat modular. My copy comes with two threaded inserts and various lengths of plastic tubing. Depending on the insert installed, the pen takes refills from Uni, Pilot, Pentel or Schmidt. The plastic tubing sections act as shims in case your refill of choice is a little too short to fit the barrel snugly. You do need a wrench to remove or install refills, so swapping guts isn’t lightning quick. 

I happily discovered that today’s refills are capable of providing a pretty good writing experience. One can select anything from microtips to lush wide points, incorporating things like fraud-resistant ink in the mix. Many of these options are readily available in my neighborhood bookstore, which isn’t always the case with fountain pen ink. 

I’ve used the aluminum Ateleia for a couple of months now. I rotated between the factory-installed 0.5mm Energel, a Signo 0.38mm, a G2 0.7mm, and the currently deployed Pilot Hi Tec C in 0.4mm. With all these, the Ateleia wrote far better than any rollerball or gel pen I used before I drowned in the fountain pen pool. I can even name a few fountain pens (some over the $200 mark) that didn’t feel as smooth on paper (or even write) straight from the box. None of my nibs like Field Notes’ paper but the Ateleia does just fine, thank you very much.

It is almost pencil-light in the hand. Some folks prefer a tool with more mass to allow the tip to glide on autopilot. I choose control over momentum so this lack of weight is ideal for my uses. The bare surface hasn’t picked up scratches yet,but I do keep this tucked into a pen slot in my day pack and it doesn’t mingle with keys, change or other pocket debris.

The Ateleia was intentionally designed to be carried in a journal (or a pen sleeve) so it wears no clip or roll stopper. The threaded cap is a rather small part. Loss is a real risk, so be aware of where you set this piece while you doodle away. 

A 10-pack of gel pens costs half of what this particular model sells for, so why buy what is essentially a machined alloy sheath for refills? My take is that it gives the ubiquitous gel pen a dose of what I think it sorely lacks : soul. For a guy who grew up listening to Hendrix, Stevie Ray and BB, that’s all the reason needed.


Corleone was right…


The Godfather trilogy was a huge presence in my generation’s memories of cinema. In the last installment of the franchise, an aging Michael Corleone is trying to set his house on a legitimate path when twists and turns make reverting to his old ways somewhat inevitable. In frustration, or perhaps acknowledgement of his circumstances, he exclaims in anguish, “Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in!”

Several months ago, I bid goodbye to the readers of this blog, thinking it was a permanent farewell. At the time, the fire I had for the fountain pen hobby had died and I had more pressing matters (like finding a new job) to worry about. Well, just as Pacino’s Corleone discovered, life wouldn’t let go of me so easily. 

A monthly lifestyle magazine of a local daily invited me to do a quarterly column on pens. It wasn’t a tough ask so I decided to contribute what I could. I then discovered pointed pens and went giddy over obliques, and flex, and iron gall ink. Along the way, my interest in writing forms and their tools surged like no one’s business. 

The short version is that this blog will continue. It may tackle a fountain pen model every now and then, but I’ve decided to delimit it from self-inking nibs. I can’t quite predict how all of this will go, but you can bet that whatever fancies entrance me at the moment will be written about and shared on this space.