Nov 22, 2012

Writing exercise

Major blog-block lately, in case you hadn't noticed...I keep trying to jumpstart the creative juices by doing exercises from a book called "The Writers Workout Book: 113 Stretches Towards Better Prose." It has a cartoon of Shakespeare lifting weights on the cover....cheesy yes, but helpful.

Writing exercise: recall the story behind a possession.

I have a red fountain pen here on my desk. It's got a shiny plastic barrel, chunky in the hand. The barrel is not quite round, but shaped angularly, with flat surfaces that have rounded edges so as not to hurt the hand. The clip on the pen is black, and the top end of the cap is stained dark blue. The stain is not from ink that escaped this red pen - it's well made and doesn't leak - but another ballpoint pen that exploded nearby. Another strike against ballpoints.

I remember buying this pen on a damp Saturday morning, after eyeing it for weeks. F was there after I dragged him along for a second opinion, although he didn't offer one. I liked how it looked sturdy and indestructible, but the glide of the fountain tip across heavy paper was light and delicate. Hardly any pressure to make this sturdy pen work. It is called a Safari. Made me think of Landrovers and cheetahs.

I lost the pen once while on vacation in Toronto. Summertime, we'd been out and about, so many places it could potentially have slipped away - I searched everywhere for it, called every place I'd been into, no idea what had happened or when it disappeared. Resigned myself to the fact it was gone.

Then, exactly a year later, my mother called. "We found your red pen," she said. It was tucked into the arm of a folding chair in the garage. Then I remembered sitting out in the garden one night, such warm air that we'd stayed out to midnight, sat around a large candle and watched the racoons hop along the neighbours' fences. I pulled out the pen to circle something in the newspaper on the table, must have put it down on the arm of the folding fabric chair. It got put away until next year. My mother mailed it back to me, and when I unwrapped the package it wrote perfectly the first time out of the envelope.

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