I’ve had a major case of writer’s block. Not that I’ve actually had the time to sit and write anything at all, but even when I did the blank computer screen just stared back at me. I’d close up and think to myself maybe later something will form. Still, nothing.
Writing was never a chore for me. It was always an escape. As far back as I can remember, I always wrote. I remember back in the fourth grade when we were working on penmanship. The teacher told us that if we could write neatly and express ourselves clearly we could write with a pen. A pen! This was entering the adult realm of things. Children used pencils because we made mistakes all the time. We never knew what we were doing or what we wanted to say. We needed that little pink eraser at the end of our No. 2 for insurance purposes. Some of us used it up more than others (I am happy to say my erasers were usually kept in tact 🙂 )
Adults were afforded the luxury of using a pen because it was authoritative. It was the last word. A pen indicated that you made no mistakes (not a good lesson for a young writer, actually!) Nonetheless, I wanted to earn my right to use the mighty pen and rid myself of this pencil and eraser business. I remember that lesson clearly. We were to write a short story in the neatest handwriting possible. I don’t remember what I wrote about, but I recall the effort put forth to make it neat. I almost broke my pencil I was grasping it so tightly. The space between my little pointer finger and my thumb ached a tiny bit from the pressure I had been applying. When I finished writing, I put my pencil down auspiciously. I was ready for the pen.
I walked over to my teacher and handed her my paper. The butterflies in my stomach swirled and swooshed. Would I make the cut? Was I worthy of the pen? It was all too much to handle. I think I held back tears. This was a moment of truth early on in my academic career. She asked us to sit down and wait for everyone else to finish. Oh those pencil and eraser people.
Time stood still. The silence was asphyxiating.
When the last student got up to hand in their paper, the teacher was almost finished reading all of our stories and had separated us into two piles. The pile of pencil users and the tiny stack of students who were now allowed to write with pen. Beads of sweat formed upon my little forehead. Was I in the right pile? Did I read through my story carefully? I wonder if I used a sufficient amount of our new vocabulary words.
The teacher was calling out names of those students who had gained the right to use a pen and explained that it was due to their writing, spelling, grammar yadda, yadda, yadda. Finally, I heard my name. Church bells rang. I think I saw a white dove at the window. I had earned my way to The Mighty Pen!
To this day, I still prefer pen and paper to the computer. I have small notepads and notebooks and I write everything down. My shopping lists, my calendar, my private journal. I make lists of things to do, inspiring moments and new words I’ve learned that day. Writing is a cathartic process for me, personally. Even with the occasional writers block it’s always a great release to let a new story out. To put into words and jot down on paper (or screen) the little thought bubbles that form in my mind throughout the day.
Writing was never a chore to me. It was, and always will be, an escape. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think there’s a dove at my window.