On New Pens

During the last session of the Willamette Writers Conference on Sunday, the workshop I was really looking forward to, my pen died. Nothing but dry scratches on the paper. Luckily I was sitting next to a friend who is also a mom, so she had a pen I could borrow. Moms are more prepared than Boy Scouts.

My despair at losing a favorite, if cheap and totally replaceable, pen was lifted almost immediately by the prospect of buying a new pen. I had bought the recently deceased pen on the recommendation of some productivity site or another, and the commenters had been correct: it was a pen with smooth, fluid ink that did not leave blotches. Its line was thick enough to seem weighty but not so thick that it looked like I was writing notes with a dry-erase marker.

But was that enough? Has pen technology advanced in the past few months? I checked in with an office-supplies fiend I know. She pointed out that life is too short to remain slavishly devoted to one kind of pen. I reminded her of Stephen King and the Beryl Black Beauties he wrote of and with. I admired his work ethic; if I mimicked his devotion to writing implements, would I too adopt a King-like writing schedule that allowed me to complete books and articles at a clip? She said she would stick to her shiny new pens.

Tis the Season

The death of my pen has another consideration: it’s back-to-school season. I am surrounded by cool pens and those ten-for-a-dollar stacks of spiral-bound notebooks every time I leave the house. I work at home, but when I’m in that seasonal aisle, I want a lunchbox. Is it possible to walk into a Target, an Office Depot, a Fred Meyer and only buy more of the exact same pens? That’s a kind of willpower I don’t possess, and I don’t know that I want to.

I did like that pen. I may buy more of the same. But I will likely spend half an hour in the school supplies section pondering the possibilities and justifying to myself the purchase of a stack of spiral-bound notebooks.


One response to “On New Pens”

  1. Kathleen Donohue

    Hey, I know that mom!

    Like your blog, and your site. Word to the wise: Dollar Tree has boatloads of composition notebooks, and 3-subject spirals. Betcha can’t guess how much…