A Blue Ballpoint Pen

Having not written a usable word for more than a week now, I have decided upon drastic methods to get things going.  Not only have I changed my pen, I have also changed the colour of my ink.  I know what you’re thinking and, yes, you’re right, I am a man without fear.  If pushed into a corner by the Gods of Not Being Able to Tie Down a Single Amusing Thought, I will resort to any method of turning things around.  I have faced down the devil, twisted his nose and flicked the lobe of his ear.  If he thinks that he can make what is currently flitting around between my ears any more sterile than it already is well, he’s welcome to give it a go.  It could only spice up my day.  I have grown tired of staring at a blank sheet of paper.

Yes, I did say paper and yes, I have tried staring at a blank laptop screen instead – it didn’t help: it just reminded me that I need my eyes testing.  I have tried lined foolscap, plain A4.  I have tried both folded into four.  I am probably responsible for putting more shit on paper than the inventor of Andrex.  I currently have a bin full of the stuff.  It is folded in many ways, although some of it is just crumpled up in an almost avant-garde fashion.  (Out of interest, I have just popped ‘avant-garde’ into a French to English translator and it apparently translates as ‘avant-garde’.)  I am the Jackson Pollock of the wastepaper basket.  I am the idiot son of the man who never made it past a yellow belt in Origami.  I am currently writing in a school exercise book.  I cannot throw the pages away because if I rip them out, another – uncontaminated by my nonsense – falls out at the back.  I cannot bear to throw away undesecrated paper.

So, new pen it is: radical I know, but you are looking at a man who once drank red wine with fish.  Of course, switching to a blue does not come close to the sheer excitement of pushing down the little levers on one of the 6 variously coloured refills housed within a single pen that people of my age always got for Christmas, but it does make a change from black.  As it is, I usually flit between black and red biros.  I have black roller-balls, but I really don’t trust them.  They are fickle.  I use green pens for correcting.  Green is the colour of second thoughts.  Starting to write with a green pen means that I don’t even trust what is in my head – which gives me an insight into what other people think of me, and I don’t particularly enjoy it.  It’s like looking into the house through your own window – something you only ever really do when you are locked out.  I write, floridly, in fountain pen occasionally – but these pieces very rarely get transcribed into zero’s and ones.  I seem to whine a little too well in India ink.  Fountain Pen Me is a character that I rarely allow out in public.

I suppose that the man I would most like you to see when you look at what I write is exemplified by the mug full of pencils that sits on the desk in front of me.  They are bright yellow, of uniform length, and each capped with a rubber* to one end.  Sadly, upon close inspection you will find that only one or two of them are sharpened.  Most are blunt and unusable.  In fact, as much as I would like to emulate Hemingway, Steinbeck and Capote in writing in pencil, neatly rubbing out rather than scrawling over mistakes, I can’t.  I tend to carry crumpled paperwork around with me during the course of the day and, by evening, pencil scrawlings become indecipherable: a homogenous**, pale grey smudge – too much like my real life.

So, today I am writing in blue ballpoint – simply because I found a hitherto unused pen in a drawer and thought that I would give it a go – and an exercise book that I bought some years ago for my Open University course and never used, (My Uni notes were written in pencil, but were all contained in the margins of the rainbow highlighted text books) so I’m confident that I will eventually find something to tell you.  I’m just not sure what yet…

*Probably ‘eraser’ to those of you with an education.
**This is correct in English but both reads and sounds odd.  In American English ‘an homogenous’, which sounds much better to my own sadly uneducated ears.

28 thoughts on “A Blue Ballpoint Pen

  1. Dealing with the (writers)block, the unwritten blog. Ah yes. I wound up not writing a thing for a couple of months last year because of The Block, which led to frustration, on to ennui, then a screaming late-night ‘sod this’ and I stopped as I said, for a coupe of months. I got my mojo back, but in retrospect I lost a couple of months of, lets be charitable, ‘Blossoming Creativity.’ My removing of myself from the bright spotlight of my blazingly insightful blog meant not a jot to any of my ‘followers’; So no harm to anyone or anything other than my ego.
    On a completely serious note I eked (inked?) out three posts on writing/journalism on the basis of picking up an exploding green pen, and the literal mess it left on me.
    If that is of any help to you in your blocked-up situation, who knows? I don’t. All I advise is slog on, blog on.

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    1. It is a routine I have lived with for years. I write every day. Even when I can’t write, I write. Slowly things fall back into place. It’s just judging the point at which the twaddle graduates from animal bedding to just about acceptable. I’ll judge it right one day…

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      1. Some days its flights of fancy, all rosy rainbows and high falutin’ flying unicorns.
        Sometimes it’s just unicorn crap falling flat. What can ya do but stand aside and wait it out?

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  2. Ah, the joy of the multi-coloured ballpoint pen. The ultimate Christmas present. I only ever had access to the four coloured version as opposed to the fatter version that probably had at least ten different colours. The smell of the acrylic pen body, the click, click, click as you randomly flicked from one colour to another. The many attempts to try to get two colours to stay down together, until that fateful moment when you pressed just that little bit too hard and forced one of the clickers to stay depressed in the body of the pen (Usually the red) and try as you might, you just couldn’t get the pen to work properly, your ham-fisted attempts leading to the destruction of this prized possession… Oh well, you thought, only another 364 days to next Christmas…

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  3. Being left-handed I always had a problem writing with a pencil because it would be a smudged mess dragging my hand through the graphite. I love to write with a fountain pen, blue/black ink but have a similar problem. Plus fountain pens, no matter how much I love them, always challenge me mechanically.

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      1. However thoughtful of you, allowing the servants to be privy to your thoughts and ideas and allowing them to be the first to view it. Of course, you had nondisclosure agreements, I assume.

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  4. It annoys my wife when, if we go somewhere in her car, I point at the things which are manual in it which are electrickery or automatic in mine, and say things like “Oh, a clutch and changing gear with a stick… how quaint.” Or “Oh, you have to use a switch to turn the wipers on when it rains? How quaint…” etc, etc.

    I’d imagine I’d be the same for you using a pen (of whatever colour) and paper to write with–deeply annoying and obviously in need of a slap.

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  5. I applaud you taking the bold move and not only writing on paper but also changing your pen. Bold Very BOLD. I have a cup of pens and pencils on my desk which have and never will be used. I write on my computer. The pens are to make others think I am something special. I also have a corduroy coat with patches on the sleeves hanging on the back of my chair. These things just scream WRITER, even though they are a fraud

    Laugh Until It annoys someone. They’ll thank you

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