Saturday, February 25, 2012

On Writing

I was in a professional development seminar yesterday, taking notes, when something hit me.

I love to write.

I don't mean the intellectual activity of writing, though I love that too. No, I mean the actual, physical act of writing, of putting pen on paper and watching ink spill forth. Of even sitting at a computer screen, tapping at keys and watching words simply appear like magic. I suppose it's what makes a brand-new notebook special--what makes a brand-new notebook with a pretty cover even more special.

What caused this? It wasn't the professional development seminar. Though it was informative, it didn't have anything to do with this physical act of writing, and I was taking notes on the idea of voice in non-native speakers' English when it struck me. Now, part of this, I feel certain, was the fact that Cengage had a book rep there, and he had given me a pen.

I love these pens.

I got two of them last year, and was upset when they didn't last me all the way to this year.

I might have more than two right now.

Actually, I might have a lot more because I was tempted by their shiny brilliance every time I went by the table. (To be fair, he left a BUNCH for anyone to take after the seminar was over, so I don't feel bad about having a bunch, since everyone had a chance to get them and had left by the time I got there and snagged them. And now I will have them for a LONG time. Buahaha!) And I would totally buy these pens if I could figure out who made them, but my perusals of the office supply aisles have been for naught.

Anyway, something about the tail of a cursive 'y' caught my eye, and I stopped for a moment to simply appreciate the act of writing. I really do enjoy writing, especially by hand, though I'm never terribly happy with my handwriting for long, because the faster I go and more excited I get, the less beautiful my handwriting becomes.

It reminded me of an E.L. Konigsburg book I read when I was a kid: The View from Saturday, which won her a second Newbery Award. In it, one of the main characters is taught to use a fountain pen. The fountain pen--refillable, mind--is extolled as the most virtuous of pens, rather than the soulless ballpoint so in use today.

Personally, I've always been a ballpoint pen girl myself, though I've been picky about what kind. I love Bic pens, but not the crystal ones. I'm a fan of the RoundStic pens. I enjoyed Sharpie pens for a while, as the logical, less messy follower to felt-tip pens, though they were not fast enough for me to take notes in class. SnarkyWriter gave me an InkJoy, PaperMate's new pen (which is being featured on their website's front page right now), and I found that not having to press down on the ball resulted in quite a bit of mess, and I had ink all over myself. Mostly, I've used their Write Bros. pen.

But I've found that many of my favorite pens have come to me from various places. I have a KEA pen (the Silver Dyna Pen), and another one also emblazoned with the KEA logo (a variation on the Arctic Frost). I've several Clic Stics from a variety of organizations, and two Tri Stics with my alma mater's Continuing Education logo that I love dearly. In my pen jar, I've also several of the aforementioned Round Stics, Sharpie pens, Write Bros. in various colors, a PaperMate Mystix in orange (which I believe they've quit making). I've also a purple Pentel Energel that I use sometimes for grading, though I'm not a gel pen person.

But my favorites are always the ones I pick up. Working in a pharmacy as an undergraduate, I picked a number of pens from drug reps. I have a pen from a Marriott hotel, one from a Drury hotel. I've a blue pen I think my father bought. I've my Cengage pens. And like anything else, my tastes will change. It may be that by next year, I will no longer want the Cengage pens, and at that point, they will drift out into the world, thieved and given away. Pen karma.

But what matters is finding THE pen for the moment...and then finding that perfect curve in a word and smiling because it's just so fun.

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