by Christopher Slater


My best friend has a unique obsession. He loves pens. Specifically, he loves trying to find really nice fountain pens. I’ve never been able to understand this focus of his because I can’t make much use of fountain pens. I’m left-handed and I hold my pen in an awkward fashion so all that I do with a fountain pen is smear the ink all over the page. However, I was thinking about my best friend and his love of fountain pens, and my mind gained a great, new appreciation for them because of some unusual, symbolic thoughts that occurred to me.

Usually, once my mind starts going into deep, symbolic thought I switch gears and start thinking of something else. I’m a very busy individual and I don’t have a lot of time to focus on such subjects. That, plus the fact that the world is probably better off without my deep thoughts keeps me from considering such things. For some reason, though, I kept going on this.

One of my other concerns about fountain pens deals with their habit of bleeding ink. I’m clumsy enough as it is. I don’t need help getting things to stain my clothing. I handle that well on my own, thank you very much. Thinking of the bleeding pen reminded me of a quote I once heard. There are different versions of the quote, but basically it said, “Writing is easy. Just sit down, open a vein, and bleed onto the paper.”

This rather morbid description is a pretty good representation of how many writers feel about their work. It is part of their life. And then I remembered where most men kept their pens: in a pocket, usually over their heart. See the symbolism coming together?

If you are a writer, whether it be professional, amateur, poems, novels, or even just interesting Tweets, let those words, that ink, bleed from your heart through the pen to the paper. Whenever you write because you “have to,” you are just putting ink in a pattern onto stylized wood pulp.

But when that pen, which you have kept near your heart, bleeds the words for you, you have created art. You have put a part of your soul on display. No matter how much it may be criticized or acclaimed, that is your work, your blood, and it should be an object of pride.

Enough deep thoughts for me. I told you that I try to avoid it. Now I think I need to go make some lunch and perhaps, just perhaps, order me a fountain pen. Bet you it will ruin my shirt. It might be worth it, though.




Guest post contributed by Christopher Slater. Christopher is a Middle School History teacher in Tennessee. He’s also a husband, father, and author.