Friday, February 2, 2007

Why I always carry a pen

Today I ran to the bank to sign some official papers. I had my pen-in-hand and I was ready to sign when the bank officer offered me a pen, and my business associate said "She's always prepared."

Aside from the "Time is my one finite commodity" email signature, my comments in my blog about time, and the sermon I gave at Toastmasters about time, I always carry a pen. Having my pen in my hand and ready was the efficiency borne of my awareness of time and not wanting to waste it for anyone. Why I had a pen with me is another story, aside from knowing I was going to the bank specifically to sign something.

I started writing poems and stories when I was 11 years old. While my muse has been blissfully quiet lately, I spent about 15 years under the constant demands of Erato, the harsh mistress of writing. Poems came to me at all times of the day, and on some occasions woke me from deep slumbers to make me press pen to paper in the darkest hours of the night. If my hand cramped and my eyes teared, it was nothing next to the torment of the poems, lyrics, inspirations, that came to me when I had nothing to record them with. Slave to this strict mistress, I obediently began to carry something -- anything -- with which I could write. She had no patience for ink blots, pens that skipped, cluttered paper, or any other excuses. When she demanded, I would write.

While under her thrall I learned to choose better pens, to choose better notebooks, to keep these instruments handy. I have a book and pen next to my bed, so that if something should take hold of me in those chilling wee hours, I wouldn't have to shiver at my desk.

One of my inspirations literally came to me in those dark hours -- lyrics for a song (perhaps her cohort Euterpe had decided to borrow me?) -- and I sat in my kitchen singing, humming, laboring and pouring out a piece inspired by the tale of Beauty and the Beast and neo-pagan symbolisms. Thankfully I haven't tried recording the song :)

Regardless, you'll notice that whenever I'm without a pen I get a haunted look of fear on my face, and perhaps I seem distracted. That's me praying earnestly to the Lady that she not strike me with inspiration at that moment.



  1. What a stroke of brilliance. All this time I have been carrying a very small notebook and the pages fall out of it, and there isn't enough room. The thought was that if it could fit in my purse, it was the right size. I see now that it needs to be bigger. And having it next to the bed is an excellent idea as well. I have never been keen on 'journaling' but when the moment hits me, I have occasion to write down potential book ideas or favorite quotes, song lyrics that I forget the tune to. I do always have my favorite pen & pencil, I adore them. There is nothing more satisfying than my pencil and drafting, lettering or doodling something with it. And it has to be .7B or .9B lead depending on which one I have with me. The darker the lead, the better. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. I'm a B-lead freak as well, but I like thin pens and leads. I found a .3 mechanical pencil lately and was very excited by that -- a .3B!!! I had to have it. I also got a .3 gel pen at the same time. Normally I use .5, on occasion .7, and also have traditional pencils. Sometimes I like to write very small, or draw small detailed drawings, though, and points on normal pencils are inconsistent.

    Thank you for the comment! And you're welcome for the inspiration.

    My penchant for taking notes has gotten me volunteered to be recording secretary for the Business Exchange Network :P :)