Pen and Paper

19 Apr
Pen and Paper

Creative Commons Image courtesy of CPSutcliffe on Flickr

I am a pen-and-paper girl mostly – always have been,  though I am adapting to the modern world.

There’s something about the speed of writing things down, slower maybe, something about the act of committing my thoughts to a page – the permanence, or the familiarity – which keeps me writing in a notebook. On a page. Keeps me writing things down.

And then the typing, that first transfer of my words from paper to screen, structures my editing, too, because as I type my handwritten ideas, they become more flamboyant, more poignant, more descriptive, more . . . real. I edit as I go. I search for what I mean. And I see more than words as I do it.

All because I’ve started with paper and pen.

As I read what I’ve written, I remember – more body memory than conscious thought – what else was in each phrase, which particles of thought never made it into words. This inspires me sometimes, and I tug on the thread of some lost idea.

The act of typing forces me to take another look. I like that.

It is what works for me.

My parents, when I was young, strove to encourage my writing, even before I learned to type. They were forever buying me journals for birthdays, for Christmas, for Valentine’s Day even, I think, one time. They had this idea, and I did, too, that as a serious writer, I would relish a serious, cloth-bound journal. They were showing respect.

I held a lot of guilt about this, as the beautiful journals piled up in my closet, untouched. The trouble was: Cloth-bound journals are too permanent. Writing, for me, was never like that. Writing is meant to flow, find its’ path, start over and stop sometimes, be ripped out and tossed forever away.

If you rip a page from a spiral-bound notebook – because you’re having a cranky day or an uninspired one, for example, and you write nothing but drivel which doesn’t need to be saved, in fact should never be read again by you or by anyone else, you can rip it out and there will be no evidence of the missing page, whereas if you rip a page from one of those fancy cloth-bound journals, you leave a lasting reminder there: In your sacred space.

Spiral-bound only for me, please.

But what about the pen? If I’m so particular about my notebook, you can bet I’m particular about my pen, too.

I’ve taught nearly everyone in my life (and if you didn’t know this already – you do now) NOT to gift me with a pen. My stepdaughter gifted me with pens once, a whole bag of them, and I was so nervous opening them, wanting to love them and have it show and worrying I wouldn’t and my not-poker-face would give me away, but she paid close attention to what I used. Bic ballpoint pens. She hit the mark. She didn’t try to second-guess me, upgrade me, offer me something special and new. She gifted me with the pen I love most. Love. That. Gift.

My pen-love is shifting now, though. I’m beginning to like a fatter pen, a wide one with a good grip, one where my hand is more open, not so clenched. Know what I mean?

Do you have a favorite pen?


10 Responses to “Pen and Paper”

  1. verilp April 19, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    Yes, a wider grip for sure! Actually, now that I am retired, I use pen and paper very seldom. But I enjoyed reading about your pen and paper experience.

    • rrp69 April 21, 2013 at 8:04 am #

      So funny. I actually thought about you when I wrote those lines! xo

  2. Gwen April 19, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    I admire your methods. Kristin Hannah is a best selling novelist who writes her entire first draft with pen and paper. I don’t know how she does it, but I can certainly appreciate the value in it. Great post!

    • rrp69 April 22, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

      Thank you – how affirming to hear that a best-selling novelist has a practice that in some way resonates with mine – thank you for saying so.

  3. Julie Nilson April 19, 2013 at 8:41 am #

    Oh yes, spiral-bound only. My reasoning is that I like to be able to flip the cover around the back so I don’t have to hold it open, like with a stitch-bound journal. And a Bic ballpoint is my second choice–first is a Pilot fine-point, in a nontraditional color. 🙂

    • rrp69 April 22, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

      Nontraditional color – I like that. Hot pink? Green? I learned something new about you!

  4. Joy April 19, 2013 at 9:23 am #

    Yes, fat pen. And paper. Me too.

    • rrp69 April 22, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

      Maybe tomorrow’s poem should be “Fat Pen” …

  5. Lucky traveler 57 April 20, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    As I have noted in the first posts on my blog I start on paper edit on paper then post sometimes reediting even then. Age that I am it’s just the way my brain is wired. I use spiral notebooks so I can dispose of the pages when I’m done. We have a small apartment and need to save space wherever we can!!

    • rrp69 April 22, 2013 at 11:54 pm #

      Totally hear you! I love hearing so many people still use pen and paper. It’s like hearing that people read… well… actual BOOKS.

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