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  • Judy Slater

Why Do I Write?

Writing by hand is a workout for fingers, so ease of pen put to paper is a writing gotta-have.

If a pen moves smoothly on paper, which this free promotional one does NOT, then pause, perhaps this one? NO, pause, another? No, pause. Free pens do NOT pass muster, not this one, either.

Still trying. Fourteen more free pens in my Mason jar.

This “Heartland’ one is best so far, but still too much work. BIC Round Stic? NO.

“Regency at Canton?” Easiest so far, smoothest, it’s an unfamiliar “HUB” brand. “Marriott?” NO! Throw it away. “Hilton Hotel? NO! “BIC Soft Feel?” Yikes! Have to press hard. Another one: “Michigan Interfaith Power and Light.” So-so.

A thought occurs: a broader tip may suit. Look for one among the last in the jar.

“EHM Senior Solutions” more like an ink pen: writes wet, pen shaft thick and easy to hold. Of course, no name brand. “Heartland” so-so. “Unball 500” like an ink pen but point too fine. “Zebra F202 Japan:” throw away!

I remember a “Uniball” that, once found, was a staple on my Office Max shopping list a few years ago. How did I stop?

Now my hand is tired, I’ve been trying ballpoint pens and I feel little in control of my handwriting. I can read it, but it is messy.

OK, so think, there’s different kinds of writing that might be better suited to different kinds of writing instruments. Perhaps the junky free ball point pens would suffice for list-making or doodling (or losing!). Perhaps a pencil would succeed as my writing companion for “serious” writing.

I’ll try a pencil, #2, sharp point. If this works better, I am getting a pencil sharpener. This #2 pencil has 6 bevels on the shaft. I’m discovering my fingers like its non-roll grip not featured in smooth pen shafts. And ease of writing, smooth.

Sometimes when writing, I concentrate on my handwriting style and evenness, but it never lasts, neither the concentration nor the style and evenness. I think my brain says each letter as I write it; how oppressive and frustrating to my hand to have to wait for brain’s instruction. Hand does not have a mind of its own. For that, a great amount of magic occurs to get letters forming a word, words forming a thought, thought ahead of hand’s writing speed. Irritation, frustration. Thinking is ahead of a word being written, hence the angst of never feeling caught up, in harmony between thought and formation of a single letter as it combines with likely and unlikely partners to form words. So, if I slow down to the sanctity of each letter in each word, perhaps my writing will be more even and legible. But my hand tires. And my brain drums ITS fingers, not willing to wait for writing fingers to catch up.

With all that, WHY DO I WRITE?

Notwithstanding the push-me pull-you between thought and transcription, I am driven to write. It’s the best way I have found to dump my head chatter because as I write, I slow down to reflect. I write to rest. The drive has met its match.

Oh, by the way, I need a pencil sharpener. Pencil wins.

(from a prompt exercise home assignment in the first month of our first organizational meeting, May 2019)

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