The Pen and Its Writers

by Shelby Salerno about a year ago in career

Essays on Writing #1

The Pen and Its Writers

I’m going to share a secret with you: I do not write with a pen, the pen writes with me. Though sometimes I can’t seem to follow where it leads. Sometimes I simply don’t want to, so I don’t, but then again I always come back to it and ask for forgiveness because I yearn to learn about the words that must be “said.” Either way, I am a slave to the creative word. I am a slave in the best and worst of ways to which the interpreter (you) may distinguish. I was unwillingly (for my lack of knowing) cast into this position, but I have willingly taken it as my destiny. I am ruled by the energies around me, and my hand is driven by the pen for which I hold tightly in my grasp. My mind is my own, but the thoughts that penetrate my skull emerge from the voice of the universe. Sometimes the words I relay do not make much sense, but in my heart I know that there is sense in the nonsensical.

As much as I enjoy being a writer for the pen, I admit that I did not particularly choose this. My literary journey began one day after school when I was eight years old. I was lying on the floor doodling sporadically across my fantasy coloring book when suddenly a story fled from the unknown and found refuge in my mind. I had no choice but to flip my booklet to the back of the blank front cover, grasp my blueberry blue crayon tightly between my fingers and release the story into it’s true home: the world. I scribbled a universe into my own all across the page, then across the title page with the mini unicorn on it, the first coloring page with the fairy forest, the next page with mermaids, and on and on and on until finally…. The End. I had written my first novel. Granted it was an unconventional total of fifty pages and raw with the grammar of a third-going on fourth-grader, I had done it still. I gaped at my work before me, ripped on the sides and stapled together in a bitty packet that whispered to me: You are a writer. I am a writer, I thought to myself, though, for another time, this thought did not always stick for there were and are instances when I doubt my abilities and the pen’s choice of body. Even so, regardless of my then future self, in that moment I was chosen. Perhaps the pen had tried to present my calling to me before that moment but I hadn’t been ready, or perhaps the pen hadn’t been ready for me until that moment, either way, my destiny was set just then whether I continue to have faith it in or not.

However, I should make note, that just because the pen chose me, does not limit this life to my perceptions and experiences. I am not the only writer. There is simply too much to write about for a single human being to bear. Therefore, the pen delegates many writers to conduct its work, so no one person must suffer the weight of all thought. This allows all forms of stories to be freed into our existence. This also allows diversity in the habit of writing for which the world very much craves but has yet to admit it does. Writers are meant to work together in order to instill understanding and an appreciation for beauty in our corner of the universe.

Before I get ahead of myself (though it seems I already have) I should mention first that as indicated above the term “pen” is not limited to the utensil for which ink paints symbols. The “pen” is everything and anything a writer has the opportunity to possess and use for the purpose of creating relatable, visual language (relatable as in each piece connects to the soul of at least one kind of person to be considered fulfilling—for which all stories are because they are written from relatability).

Now, this wouldn’t be written by me if I didn’t take a moment to rant (as you can see in the above paragraphs). This rant’s topic, however, is a subject for which my mind dwells greatly, and it has thus begun to distract my narratives. Let me pose, first, a series of questions that plague me each time I dote on my career: Are modern artists truly doomed to a career made up of remakes, quick fixes, and virtual blips? Am I cursed by association, unable to become a modern classic due to the year I happened to be born upon? I fear that I have much the pen wishes for me to create on my own but am I too late due to my predestined aliveness? Did I, by some cruel trick of fate, miss my moment to be a writer for which people actually enjoy reading? Am I outdated in my natural abilities? I fear vastly that I am. I am indeed with the times, attempting to follow along with the way of progression, but at the same instance I seek to preserve the beauty and intensity of my trade. People see, but they do not seem to read like they used to. But then again here I am pen in hand; someone will read this, even if it is simply me, and thus this piece too has fulfillment. This must mean all of my work has fulfillment. I just yearn for a world that digitized truths may be sharing air with the historic documentations of living. I know no answer, and this is why I am sleepless in my work.

Crises aside, I must now discussion the importance of a writer to elaborate upon my passion not just for my sake, but for the sake of the world. I do not write this just to save my buttocks, my soul, but to save the soul of the earth’s core and the sight for which people engulf the life they have been given.

Firstly, the pen chooses a writer based on a few key elements:

  1. The person has something to express
  2. A need to release artistically
  3. Believes in the healing power of love
  4. Understands their value of life
  5. Pays attention to detail
  6. Sees more than what is in front of them

The rest is up to the individual. Do not misread me however, for the pen picks a writer also for the unique story that person must convey.

Secondly, writers are a curious subgenre of human. Keep in mind that I do not direct these words as fact or pertain them to all writers. In fact, I know I do not spread out these words for all writers to wholly identify, however my impressions, until challenged, remain, and I seek to express them all the same. We cultivate a powerful strength in our sensitivity, and an even more powerful beauty in our imagination. Though dark days cause great suffering and a depressed sense of creativity, from this depth of hurt rises the contrasting magic of light. A combination of the two creates life in words for which widened eyes of a writer may express for the world to understand. Not to say that we are the brightest or most enlightened people of our race, for we most definitely are not, but we surely are the most emotionally thick sort. We thrive off of our senses and cannot help but sink into our solemnity for which beauty rises. Writers are both gifted and cursed with this otherworldly sense. Not to say that other beings may not possess this otherworldly sense, for any being may, but that writers in particular are easily persuaded into falling deep into themselves in order to dig themselves back up into reality. Writers are defiers of death as they plunge into the worst parts of existence and emerge victorious, though changed, each time. We are meant to sacrifice a piece of ourselves each adventure in order to allow the world to thrive. In this we thrive as well. Our pieces are fragmented, but we carry within us forests of souls so that we scarcely wan at the loss of togetherness.

So you see, writers are essential to the growth of the human mind, for which we depend upon to exist. Without writer’s the world would be colorless and frank about its abusive behaviors which would lead to an insanity unbearable to any mortal mind. We must make our thoughts immortal through word to maintain a sense of balance in a world of chaos.

Thus I will leave you, the reader, to stew within these words. Think thoroughly through what I have thought out, for I do so with passion and necessity. I know not all of it may make sense to you, but I write with all forms of sense in mind.

You may be asking yourself why I was inclined to write such an essay. To this I will respond: The pen told me to do so.

Shelby Salerno
Shelby Salerno
Read next: Why Denny's Is the Perfect Starter Job for a Cook
Shelby Salerno

I am currently getting my creative writing masters in the UK but born and bred on the west coast of the United States. I write in all possible formats and cover a range of topics, but mostly I write to help myself/others cope with life

See all posts by Shelby Salerno