Backstory: My writing process begins, always, by hand and preferably on old-school loose-leaf paper.
Staples no longer carries my favourite Pilot pen in their stores. This is rubbish. Did they not sell enough volume to make it worth their while? Was the profit margin disagreeable? Was there a supply problem? Was there a skiff between agents? A moral dilemma?
What ever could it be that has caused my pen of choice for writing—indeed, the only pen I’ll write with—to be cast away forever?
Is this one of those moments in the story where the reader says, ‘Move on, times have changed,’ knowing it’s all for the best and that better things will precipitate out of this most terrible situation?
Or is it a moment when the reader cries out, ’Hold your ground! Stand up for history, for honour, for tradition and for all that is true in the world, like good pens!’ because she, like viewers of Downton Abbey, knows what’s to come and implores us to be on the right side of history?
Do I stand and fight for what is dear to me? Or do I evolve with grace and go with the (ink) flow? We find ourselves here, dear reader, in a defining moment.
What to do? Do I find a new pen – searching, experimenting, speculating, failing, suffering through the pain and frustration of gouging a poorly tuned instrument across an innocent sheet of paper?
Or shall I drive the great distance across the countryside to another city where I suspect an art supply shop still has the good sense to be a vendor of fine tools such as the Pilot pen? Mind you, the last time I ventured there in search of a specific instrument—a 0.18mm ink pen—I was satisfied at first to locate one, but was later vexed when its tip could not withstand a flurry of impassioned sentences, and crushed in upon itself.
I could ask other writers their advice on favoured writing instruments. But I don’t want to be a copy cat. I don’t want to blindly follow a path just because others are. I prefer goats to sheep.
Then again, why—as they say—reinvent the wheel? If a particular pen is known to work exceptionally well for some writers then why not for me? Why should I waste precious energy carving my own path—out of egoic pioneerism—when there is already a wonderful well-trodden trail?
I don’t want to be foolish about the whole thing. I certainly don’t want to blow it out of proportion, as someone who has cultivated her eccentricities might very well do.
I need a new pen that will write through thick and thin with me, through aimless spewing of words and forceful passionate prose, a pen that will glide across paper, never impeding the flow, and yet refuses to slip across the page like a yes-man with no resistance to poorly assembled words…..
And here I am, squandering the finite supply of ink in my last Pilot pen, scribbling wildly about its impending doom! ‘Omit needless words’, wrote William Strunk Jr. His advice was focused on writing style, but it couldn’t suit this pen disaster more perfectly.
Needed: a good pen.
Image via Norman’s.
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