Love (of pens) bites

Not me, but it looked just like this cellulitis

Not me, but it looked just like this cellulitis

“Those are bites.”

I stared at the nurse practitioner. “From what?”

“Could be a bedbug.”

“I know what bedbug bites are like. This is something else. But I don’t have any bugs in my place.”

“Could be a spider.”

I had rushed to the doctor’s office fearful that the painful red, raised whorls were cellulitis, and they were bug bites from bugs I had never seen.

That pretty much encapsulates March — being preoccupied repeatedly with alarming symptoms that turned out to be minor.

And then April was the month of The Job. You probably know already how unhappy I am in my current job. An editorship opened up in another company that I felt qualified for. I have never been an editor, but this position was very specialized and required tasks I have done many times, and so I was emboldened to apply. In slow motion, I made the first bold overture, I was invited for a first interview and then, amazingly, a second, and then came the rejection letter saying that a candidate had been chosen and that my skills and experience were impressive.

Pilot bold G2

I wanted that job so intensely that my imagination ran amok, as in a romantic infatuation. I studied the writing of my erstwhile boss and watched interviews of him. I priced the stylebook I would need. I looked at transit schedules to see how long it would take to get to my after-work swims. And I spent a lot of time on

Jetpens is a wonderful website, if you are the sort of person who fetishizes writing implements and office supplies. Back in the day, the inch-thick Staples catalog would mesmerize me for hours as if I were affianced and it Brides Magazine. So, yeah, I’m in the Jetpens target demographic.

I use a lot of different pens in my work for the many hats I wear in my current job. I suppose I could survive with one black stick pen, but I have found it very effective to communicate with pens trailing lines of various thicknesses and the four basic colors. So in the days after the second interview waiting to see what would happen, I hung out on and imagined what pens I would take to my new job.

Pen case unrolling

What particularly captivated me were the pen cases. There were no drawers on the desk that I wanted to be mine, so I would need one (of course). I looked at the pictures slowly and read the descriptions obsessively.

The cases that enthralled me were the fabric pen rolls, miniatures of the knife rolls that fine chefs use. Over and over I imagined myself arriving for work at the office I had been interviewed in, laying that beautiful case on my desk, and unrolling it slowly to see my pens laid out in perfect orderliness: Gel pens in sober blue and editor’s green; bright red and yellow in both felt tip and crayon; blue Sharpies in fine, extra fine, and ultra fine; a plain black Sharpie; and my favorite mechanical pencil. Never mind that I would do the vast majority of my work online; what’s an editor without writing implements? How wonderful a start to the day!

Even after the rejection letter arrived, my mind had seized on those pen rolls, like a child who has glimpsed the most wonderful toy in the world and had to leave it behind in the store. April became May, and I remained obsessed. I knew I didn’t want a pen roll at my current office, where I have an excellent drawer in which to organize my writing implements, but what about keeping one at home? I imagined reaching for it every time I need to send a card or letter. Wouldn’t you like one?

Sunsweet Ones

But it would be silly for me to buy one of those marvelous, marvelous pen rolls. At home, I keep my few pens in a transparent Sunsweet Ones prune cylinder. Undignified as that may be, I’m all set for pen containers. No need to spend on another.

Perhaps you have a set of favorite pens and pencils. What better than a special roll to keep them fresh and shiny, close at hand, separated from lesser implements and the slings and arrows of wayward scissor blades?


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