a red pen.

It’s plastic, but engineered. Finely engineered. Inside its workings are mysterious. How is it that the ink is stored and what propels it out from the tiny silver tip?

The red pen lies inert on the desk, long, tapered, finely-tipped. It’s power is said to be mightier than the sword, though that is an exaggeration for effect; though it can be powerful, propelled by the right hand, and provided its writing is disseminated. Meanwhile it lies on the desk, the white lettering on its side – its brand name and its bar-code – almost worn away by the hands that have held it. To write.

There’s a certain latency in it – what has it written in the past? Shopping lists? Opening hours of the museums? Correction marks? (it is a red pen, after all.) And what will it write in the future? This small red tube, its insides mysteriously somehow holding ink, is a repository of anticipation, possibility, even power. It may write a love note, or a poem. It may fill out an order for a precious gift, or for a prosaic set of new  saucepans. It might write a note in a birthday card, or draw some interesting doodles.

When you think about it, the pen is indeed a powerful thing, full of potential. It’s low-tech in a high-tech world, but seems all the more throbbing with power for its present idleness, its ability to merely wait for the moment, the fact that it doesn’t need to be charged or plugged in. It can, if necessary, operate in the dark, the writer’s hand moving slowly to leave a message – one last message to a loved one, perhaps; a message that will be kept for decades, under a pillow or in a special drawer.

My intense red pen.





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