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The Pens

by Alexander Poe 10 months ago in literature

A Mavrik story

The Pens

The man is a writer. He became a writer long before he ever knew he was a writer. In his younger years of life, he found he was unable to express himself to his fullest potential verbally. The crowd he ran with started to assume he had developed a bad case of anxiety or stage fright at its worst. He simply was not able to speak to others at social gatherings. His friends finally realized he had a serious problem with speaking to others outside of his immediate group. If he knew you, and everyone else in the room, he could talk and carry a conversation with no problem. As soon as someone new stepped into the picture his demeanor changed instantly. Was he just plain out paranoid or he was schizophrenic? He had problems with raising his hand in class. If he was called on, he would stumble over his words even on the subjects he knew. He was held back by his own internal issues. No one paid much attention to his problem as the childhood years of his life passed away. He would learn to cope with it in his own way but it was still a problem. He sat with counselors who were unable to break through to him and when a shrink attempted to get through to him he just gave them quick and easy answers to get through the session as fast as possible. He had never let anyone inside his head at this point in his life, not a single person. Every time he found a woman that he thought he might open up to they always left not much longer after he had begun to test the waters of opening up to a human being.

In time, he would learn to shut down his emotions or turn them off, making it hard for the one good woman he ever came across to bust through his barriers and get him to open up to her in order for them to build a relationship on trust. He had other problems too, and because of these problems that relationship was destroyed. He has regretted and paid for it in many ways to this day. A year before he had met this woman he purchased a notebook and started to write in it. He started writing about the problems he had dealt with and before the first page came to an end, he realized that he had written a song. A huge weight had been lifted from his soul and he could feel it in his bones. He would soon become addicted to writing his heart out every day. It became habitual and soon turned into the only way he would be able to speak his mind even though nobody could hear him. He never let anyone read his work. To him, it was a sacred extension of his soul and he felt it was a private activity. It never occurred to him that he had begun to create art. Someone once picked up his notebook and started reading through it while he was asleep. His reaction was the equivalent of a bomb going off in a public place. He freaked out and snatched his notebook back into his hands. For him, that notebook was in comparison to “The One Ring” to Gollum from The Lord of The Rings. The person who had committed this transgression confessed he had liked what he read in the notebook and that it sounded like some honest rap music. The transgressor also said that he knew someone who could help turn those words into music. He brushed it off as if that was not a possibility.

At this stage of his writing career, he had only used one pen the entire time. He used the same plain old Bic pen that he had bought a bag of the day he began to write what was in his heart. None of this was a big deal to him. He did not even notice that the pen never left his side. He kept it in his pocket or it would be kept in eyesight so he could look at it during his downtime from the craft. He went to jail for a small period of time and was forced to write without the pen. He left the pen in a place he knew it would be safe from other people's hands. He could not let another hand write with it because that would desecrate the pen in his mind. It would be there when he got out and could return to writing with his beloved pen. The pen he was allowed to use in jail was small, flimsy, and made his hand ache all through the night. Despite these inconveniences, he still produced a tremendous amount of writing while inside the jail. After a month or two inside he came across a man who had a real pen. To make short of this part of the story, when the man was on his way home and out of that cage, the real pen he possessed just became up for grabs and ended up in his hands mostly because he was known as the jailhouse scribe. He wrote all day. He deserved that pen. He earned it before it had come into his life. Before he was released he had emptied the ink cartridge and was forced to go back to the short commissary pen. Jail for him was like a stage in his writing journey that was necessary for him to go through in order to reach the next level of experience that he had been seeking for some time now. In there, he wrote letters, stories, music, and he also wrote out the commissary dictionary (he retranslated it into an urban slang dictionary).

When he was released from jail his stack of literature was as thick as Chicago deep-dish pizza. He had changed as a writer. His relationship with a pen had grown deeper meanwhile he still paid it no mind. When he got home he immediately went and retrieved his original Bic pen. It felt good between his fingers. It felt good to touch the pen he loved. He had put so much work in with it how could he not miss it? He felt his time away from it was betrayal despite not having a choice but to part with it. This feeling of betrayal brought on some destructive behavior. He put all of his jailhouse writings in a black trash bag then poured acid and adhesive remover inside the bag. He put it next to the dumpster outside of his new job then set the bag on fire. As he watched all of it burn, a co-worker and a friend ran up to him screaming that he had made a mistake, it was a shame to lay waste to all of those words. He was doing what he felt he needed to do. This would not be the last time he would burn his work. After the first burning, he still had that original Bic pen. The ink was three-fourths of the way gone. He was careful with the ink because that was the life of the pen. It was a pen he had carried, used, and taken care of for the better half of a year. He was strict on how much he wrote with it as he wanted to preserve the ink as much as possible. When the ink ran out he was devastated. He felt his writing days were done and now he must retire. The death of the pen brought on his first writer's “block”. A month would pass before he would write again.

During the writer’s block, he sought out a new pen. He spent a lot of time and money attempting to find the pen he wanted to write with every day. When he did find a pen he felt he might empty the ink from, he would put it on the paper and give up after a few minutes of trying. He felt he simply could not write. This was a writer’s block, his first one, and he had to find the way to get past it. He conducted a ton of research on cures for writer’s block. He came up short each time he found a new source of information. They either gave him ways to get past the block or stated that it would pass with time. He found a book on writing by Edgar Allan Poe. In the book, it was made clear that writer’s block is not an excuse to not write. It’s all in your head, one can simply get over writer’s block. So with that being said what stopped him from writing? Is there something that prevented him from putting the pen to paper? No. There is no excuse for him. Any excuse he had was the excuse of a quitter. He took this into consideration but it did not fix the problem. He continued to keep this a secret instead of seeking help. What would people say if he told them that he was sad his pen had run out of ink and he missed it? He tried buying more of the same pens but that changed nothing. He had come to a complete stop. He wasn’t writing at all and it was because of a pen. Why? How? How could a pen stop him from writing which is the biggest part of his creative side? He simply failed to realize that he could be addicted to more than just drugs. He was hooked on his first pen and letting it go felt like a big change that brought on the end of the world. No one else could see it or if they had, they should have said something. He kept most things locked up inside tight.

This dilemma would go on for ten years before he put a stop to it. Ten years of a constant attachment to a pen. He only ever had that first writer’s block or whatever it was but he went through rough patches with no motivation to write because of a pen. He went through as many pens as he did girlfriends. In the end, the pen stuck around longer than those girlfriends. The pens were there for him no matter what. Every downfall, every good time, and through the darker times in his life. Like so many other insignificant objects in his life, a pen would govern certain aspects of his life. It could control his moods. It makes him feel good having it close all the time. He was sad for the loss of the pens lost in the battle of life as a writer. Maybe he had crossed the line but he did perform funerals for pens. He gave them a proper burial. He would pour liquor on the ground for his lost friends and pens.

At the beginning of his 27th year of life, he had a pen. He used this pen for over a year. It was given to him by a friend and he had emptied the ink from it more than once. Only a few people had even touched this pen because it was sacred to him. He put in some time with it and had never misplaced it. Not even once. Never even questioned or stressed on the whereabouts of it. He just knew where it was because it was either in the many places he stored it, or it was in his pocket. His attachment to this pen was as deep as the ocean. It was always there, always in sight. One day, during a studio session that lasted through the night, the clip on the pen had broke. He felt a piece of the pen had died. He kept the broken clip in his eyesight and near the pen for weeks until something allowed him to throw it away. Let it go he said, and so he did. As he tossed the clip into the trash he felt like Kevin Costner in the movie Mr. Brooks tossing the pictures of his crimes into the incinerator. He never felt the same about that pen again.

Something from the pen was missing, it did not feel right to him. On top of this feeling, his writing had come to a complete stop again. He possessed more than three of the exact same pen, just in different colors so he unscrewed the top half of his broken pen, and replaced the top half in order to have the clip back on the pen, making it whole again. It was a different color but his pen was in good shape again so it would have to do. He started writing again but not at the same pace or with the same passion. This was a problem, he knew it in his heart, and he knew he must fix it. Somehow, someway, he must fix it. This new situation opened up his mind to the possibility that he may have some issues with pens. The pen held him back from sharing his work with the world. To the average person who was not aware of his mindset, this problem was ridiculous. To those that know this man, they know how obsessive and compulsive he can be with his pens and other aspects of life. Regardless, he had fixed the problem this time but on a small scale as he still had trouble writing in peace or at his fullest potential.

He managed to get through a couple of months with minimal writing being done and he knew it. One day during the beginning of fall, he uses the same pen and he put it in its place in the center console of his vehicle when he was done. He went into a store, the Dollar Tree, he always goes there for certain stuff but never for writing supplies. He went in to purchase some optical wipes for the many things he wipes down including his pen or pens. When he had finished making his purchases he then walked back to his vehicle, put the wipes in their place, and went on with his day. Hours later he looked down at his pen only to discover it was not in its place. He checked a few other places he thought it might be but to no avail the pen was nowhere to be found. He became frantic and suspicious of the innocent. He started to assume that the last person in his vehicle may have taken it. The pen seemed to be nowhere around him. He could feel that it was misplaced. He went back to the Dollar Tree and searched the floor with his eyes. He started to feel like it had slipped away from him on purpose. Is there an evil force trying to stop him from writing? Why? Why did this pen, the pen he put so much time into, the pen that was there for him, the pen that he loves so much have to leave him? Why? He was so lost without it. He was also intoxicated with prescription drugs and large amounts of herb. He sat in his vehicle and smoked a hand-rolled cigar in an attempt to calm his nerves. Maybe if he gave it some time the pen would be found or reveal itself to him sooner or later. His thoughts were racing in his head as he sorted through them, retracing his every step in order to find his pen. He stripped his vehicle, nothing. Triple checked his pockets, nothing. His heart sunk further into his stomach as he realized the pen was gone and may not come back this time. He had the impression that his pens left him from time to time for reasons unknown because they always came back to him in the end. Why wasn’t this one repeating the pattern? Maybe, more time needed to pass first.

He was angry now. Still sitting in his vehicle smoking, his blood pressure had begun to rise. Where the hell is that pen? Where!? He had run all of his resources to look for it completely dry. It could not be found. As the smoke poured out of his mouth and nose he stared dead ahead into a void no one but he can see until the other voice in his head, the one that helps him write, said to him that this pen situation was an issue that he could fix. It was just a pen and he had more at his disposal. He sat and smoked on that thought for about thirty minutes before deciding it was just a pen. It could be replaced and shouldn’t stop him from writing or have such a deep hold over him. It was time for a change. Anything holding you back should be eliminated. The solution was simple. He first came to grips with the situation and then let go of the pen in his mind. He now cared for no pen in this world. He told himself this but did not feel better quite yet as it may be too soon for relief.

He drove to Target because he preferred that place over a Walmart when it came to office supplies. He does like Staples but Target it is. He walked into the store and straight to the aisle he was familiar with already. He paced around the aisle a few times glancing and grabbing at paintbrushes and other things of the sort. When he finally stopped in front of the pens and pencils he looked long and hard before resting his eyes upon the same pen he had just lost. He thought to himself for a long minute. When that long minute passed he reached for the Acroball by Pilot. He chose to go with the all-black ones this time instead of the same color as the pen he had lost. It was a six-pack that came with a seventh pen in a color he would never use even though it spit black ink like any other pen. Then he glanced at the pencils and continued to do so for a couple of minutes before grabbing a pack of all black No.2 pencils. He made his way towards the front of the store, but he stopped and turned around and his eyes zoned in on some pencil cases made of waterproof material. There were pencil sharpeners right next to the cases too. He picked up a blue set and made his way to the cash register. Now he could leave. He felt better with each step that he took. He put everything on the cash register and as he watched his items being scanned into the Universal Product Code system he had begun to feel a sensation of relief growing inside of him. He felt stronger inside his head. It was time to write.

Sitting inside of his van, in the parking lot of target, he opened the packages. He put the pens and pencils in the case along with the pencil sharpener in no particular order. This was not normal but he vowed to himself that he would just use whatever pen his hand touched first every time he needed one. It was obvious that he would be using an Acroball each time he wrote and the pencils would be used for taking notes during school. If he lost one of them he would not care, he would let it go. He would simply get another pen. The problem was fixed and he will move on with his life. He would be writing again. He put one of his hand-rolled cigars in his mouth, put flame to the tip, and drove off in the direction of his favorite park to write at in his home Town.

Alexander Poe
Alexander Poe
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Alexander Poe
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