Posted by: Deanna | October 14, 2007


A journal challenge for the month was handed out recently. The topic; Secrets. I debated on whether or not to take this challenge as I have long remembered a statement I heard in the past, most likely from an old cop show on TV, that if you want something to remain a secret, don’t write it down. A private, personal journal is one thing, but to post it on a public blog? Well, this led to some serious thinking on my part. After much pondering I decided to go ahead and just jump in and get this secret off my chest.

I don’t remember when I first realized I had this thing, this fetish, really, for this simple object, but as the years went by it grew increasingly noticeable, if you knew where to look. I’m sure it started innocently, but it’s time to let go of this secret and seek help.

First step is admitting the problem, right? Okay…

I have this thing for pens.

(Whew! That’s a load off!)

Okay, okay, this may seem trivial to you and I suppose it is. People who really, really know me already know about this strange phenomenon (you know who you are…) but to the average person, the everyday acquaintance, this would come as a complete shock.

Pens, writing implements, Bics, Papermate, Cross, dollar store specials, gel, markers, sharpies, calligraphy; the list goes on and on! I’ve always had an abundance of pens! When feeling particularly downtrodden, a stroll down the stationary aisle to gaze upon the dozens of colorful packages of pens can lift my mood. To hold, study, then actually buy one brings a smile to my face! Depending on the state of finances, this simple pleasure can be a purchase of a dollar to an extravagant five dollar purchase just to satisfy my insatiable need to add just one more to the collection.

Then, about ten years ago, I was introduced to that seemingly harmless hobby of scrapbooking. Little did I know at the time that this would only add to my collection at an alarming rate. Now there are new pens to ponder. They are not found in the usual sundry aisle of most stores, they have a special place to live; the scrapbook store. They can be found at larger craft stores, also, but there they are often abused by people who do not understand the importance of these fine, acid free works of art. They are decapped in order to scribble on displays and surrounding walls, their tips forever ruined by the ones that don’t understand. They live a short life in the big stores, then dry out and die even before they are purchased and taken home to be cared for.

Of course, in the natural order of things, to have this ‘thing’ for pens means that I obviously have a ‘thing’ for paper. In the past it was a just a needed commodity that I had to have in order to enjoy my true passion. There were note pads for jotting, legal pads, plain loose-leaf paper, and writing paper to pen the letters I often wrote. When I got my first job in downtown Los Angeles my father called it a ‘paper pushing job’. He thought I was suited for that type of work.

I started keeping a journal as a young adult and this, of course, required something to write in. I discovered blank books! Beautiful covers filled with empty pages in between just waiting for me to fill them up with thoughts, ponderings, and observations of the world around me. Soon I was browsing the bookstores where I found that they had shelf upon shelf of these blank books, all with their names and purposes; journals, diaries, sketch books, it didn’t matter to me, they would call to me to hold each one, examine it’s binding, and take in that ‘new book’ smell. (Okay, I liked the smell of the glue, sue me)

Scrapbooking put a whole new head on the paper monster. We just won’t go there right now.

I don’t know how this pen ‘thing’ got started. Could it have manifested itself in my early years of school? We didn’t go to the store in the beginning of the school year to stock up on school supplies. The teacher would hand out pencils the first day of school and that was what we used. The thought of using a pen in class would have never entered my mind.

Maybe it was that loud, irritated yell that came from my father’s mouth shortly after the phone would ring, “Why can I never find a pen when I need one?” We would scramble around looking for one to give him while he rifled through the desk one more time. He couldn’t go far in search of one. The phone was attached to the wall. No cordless phones for quite a few years.

Maybe it was the secret thrill of adding to the grafitti in our hall closet where the pencil sharpener was located. My brother and I would leave each other little insults on the wall of the closet whenever we sharpened a pencil. But pencil can be washed away, the words forever gone for others to see. Pen is permanent. I don’t remember ever writing insults on the closet wall in pen, though.

As the years went by, my pen collection would remain, sometimes adding to it in fits of purchases. Computers brought a change. I was no longer expected to do all my work in long hand. I could tap out the information needed and print it! Ah, but nothing is more satisfying than seeing words full of color, brimming with ideas and overflowing in thoughts and ponderings scrawled across a blank peice of paper, the crippling cramp in the hand from gripping the pen too tight a small price to pay.

I have passed this ‘thing’ on to my daughters. Dayna is very particular in her style of pen she uses and tests her choices carefully, discarding most. Mary is young. She loves pens for their vibrant colors, not their performance. It’s a great thrill for her to search through ‘the box’ of pens in search of a new treasure to use.

In the scheme of things this is a harmless ‘thing’. It could be worse. Do what you will with this tidbit of information and if you find a really cool pen in your travels, think of me.



  1. I can’t go out unless I have a Sharpie in my purse. How wierd is that?!!
    Love your posting!

  2. My purse is the least likely place to find a pen! They seem to disappear in there!

  3. LOL!!!! Seriously funny though I was hoping to learn something I didn’t already know!!!! Well, I guess I did. I didn’t know about the leaving messages on the wall. Cool memory.

  4. Oh Goodness, I just found out about this recent fetish of yours. I thought it was funny then. But this was just too funny. I could add to your collection of pens with the ones we make for our retreat. Not to mention a new journal to go with it! Matching of course. I even have a new pen of my own that my dear friends thought I should have. A pink pen with a bobble crown. You know that inner Diva thing! LOL

    I couldn’t imagine what “Secret” you would share. But I am with Chris the memory of trading insults via a closet wall is interesting.

    Love ya,


  5. Okay shows you should proof before submitting comment. What I meant to say is I recently found out about this pen fetish.


  6. I love it when other people have a thing for pens! It makes me feel a little less….weird I guess. LOL I’m not even a scrapbooker anymore but I still love all the pens made for scrapbooking!

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