The Irreplacable Gift

Throughout my writing life, I’ve gotten various “gifts” that helped me grow as a writer—the best one, however, isn’t some profound insight from a professor or fellow writer. In fact, it’s one of the most basic needs for a writer. Before going into it, there are a few things you need to know about me. Even though my age group excels in technology, I’ve always been the old-fashioned type, in a sense. I need a piece of paper and a pen (ironic, since I’m typing this on a Mac). Don’t get me wrong, I do love my Mac, and all my academic papers are typed up and submitted as per the professor’s request—but the initial note-taking and writing happens on a piece of paper. Always.


The problem with me, moreover, is I need the perfect pen and paper to write with. The paper needs to have the correct line spacing, the right color, the right thickness for whatever type of writing. For example, when I write creatively, the paper has to be that beige type of color and a bit thicker, but academically it needs to be white and thin. I know, it sounds a bit nuts. Same with a pen—creatively, it needs to be a rollerball pen, where it flows; but academically, I need a ballpoint. The color comes into account, too—depending on my mood. It could be completely insane (in fact, I’m sure it is) but it’s the only way I can write.


With all that said, the best gift anyone could ever get me is either a notebook or, even better, a pen. There’s something kind of poetic about getting a pen—its sole purpose is to write. A paper can be used for origami or to spit out gum. A computer can be used for the internet or various high-tech stuff. A pen, though, is meant to write. I’ve always felt that writing is something we all can do, and it’s a powerful tool. Perhaps this goes back to my family—they always told me giving someone a pen is the greatest gift, more than gold, because God, or whatever higher-power, gave humans the ability to write. By giving someone a pen, you are then giving them the tool to practice that ability.


Obviously, the best gift I’ve ever gotten is a pen, given by my brother. My brother and I are extremely close, so the pen also held sentimental value. That pen, a ball-point Parker Jotter with blue ink, I used since 2010 until this semester in all of my classes for all my notes and all my academic pre-writing. That pen graduated me from college, brought me into my Masters program and would have most certainly finished me through this degree, as well. Unfortunately, the unimaginable happened, a group of classmates and I were walking to University Hall from Dickson and I put the pen in my pocket. When we arrived at our destination, I went to pull the pen out of my pocket and it was gone. I retraced my steps and panicked (much to the amusement of my classmates), but with no success.


Since then, I have been jumping from pen to pen in my classes—I have bought about six different ones trying to find one that fits again. Again, there has been no success—even Parker Jotters don’t work because they’re not that one. I demanded another one from my brother—apparently its en route (doubtful). But, there it is. That was the best gift I have ever gotten—my long lost Parker Jotter from my brother.

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1 Comment »

  • Nicole Wittenburg says:


    Maybe this seems crazy to some people, but I think a lot of writers would know what you are talking about. Each of us has our own unique habits and rituals that help us through the writing process. I, for example, can only take notes in black ink. I also can only write poetry by hand, but short stories I prefer to type. I can also only type first drafts single spaced. Getting a pen that just “feels right” in your hand can make all the difference. Anything that distracts your creativity, whether it be a blotchy or uncomfortable pen, or sticky keys on the keyboard, is NO GOOD. Writing is hard enough without discomfort. Also, sentimental tools like a pen from a loved one or special vintage notebook, can certainly help creative juices flow by putting us in a mood more in touch with our inner feelings and emotions. I hope you find or receive a new pen soon!


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