Friday, April 26, 2013

"Pen, not Pencil" by James Archer


For as long as I could remember, a pencil was my trusty weapon while conquering the great plains of lined paper and the valleys of words. It was a default option. I never really questioned it. Then, like a mighty sandcastle overthrown by the rioting sea wielding swords, I rewrote the government of my perspective. I edited out my notion of the pencil, replacing it with the might of the pen. Instead of writing out words in a pasty gray color, I now adorned the shades of the rainbow ready to convey my thoughts.



I had gone through a metamorphosis, and yet the reason for this occurrence had not yet been revealed to me. It is only in retrospect that it comes together in a logical explanation. The pencil, preferably a yellow-glazed-number-two-Ticonderoga, is normally suited for the act of the written word for its simplicity and ability to erase any errors. But, that’s just it. It’s erasable, not permanent; a weapon that could easily crack and crumble upon the slightest force. What does this then teach us about life, about our human-selves? That we can easily become ghosts of ourselves? That our lives are but mere specks of gray slather on a green-blue canvas? That we will simply wander in straight lines waiting to be erased…forgotten? Perhaps.

And then, there’s the pen. Many people dare not use the pen for its sharp wit cuts deep. Only people who desire a weapon of great prominence find it suitable. Pens, at first, were not my designated weapon. It was only when, one day, my mighty pencils retired in a blunted state that I was forced to wield the pen. I admit, at first I was a skeptic of the transparent-blue BIC pen. But, on that fateful day, once the initial contact between pen and paper was made, once the soft and elegant scratch was heard, I knew it was the beginning of the end. From that point on the pencil no longer satisfied my hunger for written words. Only the pen, master of words, could keep me satiated. It’s not just the way that a pen “writes” though; it’s far more than that. A pen, like a pencil, is a conduit for my ideas and thoughts.  The only difference though is the permanence of it. Once something is written down in pen, it is etched into stone, cut into a slab of paper, eternally stuck. And, maybe that tells us something about ourselves, about our lives. Our life is a pencil in most regards, it’s not permanent. But our actions, our past, present, and perhaps even our futures are a pen, they are permanent. So it beseeches us to remember that pens and pencils coincide, but it’s left up to us to either leave our life as a pencil or a pen.


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