When people find out that I love pens they usually give me this sort of quizzical look and say something like, "Really? Why pens?". For awhile I've never had a great answer. I'd try to explain the difference a well made pen makes, how you can write for longer with a fountain pen without hand strain, or maybe how nice a Retro 51 tornado feels in the hand. But almost every time they just look at me with a glazed over look, and then I feel a bit embarrassed and change the subject. I've never been able to think of a great way to describe why I like them without getting frustrated.
But I've finally come to realize that it's not really about the pens themselves that draws me this world and keeps me here, it's the amazing community that surrounds them. I've met some of the nicest, most welcoming people through this community, online and in real-life. Everyone is willing to help each other with questions, recommendations, even trying out different pens/inks/paper. I enjoy going to pen shows not just for the tables full of pens, but more because I get to catch-up with friends and meet new people. And one of my favorite things to do is to meet-up with people to nerd it up about stationery, although it usually just ends up being a fun night of drinking coffee or beer and shooting the bull about whatever.
Now when I describe that my love of pens is really about the people and the community, I think they actually start to get it, even if only in a small way. Pens are great but in the end what really matters are the people, the interactions, the friendships.