Thursday, November 08, 2007


It's a basic human instinct that comes from millenia spent hunting and gathering scarce food and supplies. But many of us still hoard, even though we will most likely never feel the needs and wants of our ancestors.

I hoard several things - tea, lotions and pens. I hoard things that have special meaning to me - teas because of the feelings that I got when I bought them, lotions because the smells are like olfactory photographs, and pens because of the potential lying within them.

Someday I might write a brilliant (or at least above-average) novel. I want the pen I use to do that to be a special one, maybe the one I bought at the Paperchase in the Paddington train station, or at the airport in Copenhagen. So I have my favorite pens, but I refuse to use them, preferring instead to save them up for something special.

Then I have the pens I pick up at conferences, the dentist, the dry cleaners, hotels, etc. These pens mostly don't have much meaning to me. I can't imagine a time when I'll be sentimental over an Oxford University Press pen. But I don't use them because I want to save them in case there's ever a pen shortage.

So the collection grows.

Then there are the pens that are in the middle. They aren't meaningless pens, but they aren't exactly my favorite or most sentimental. These are the ones I use everyday because they are so easily replaceable.

But that leaves me feeling unsatisfied because my favorite pens are sitting in a rubbermaid storage container drying out while I'm using a Bic gel pen with a fine needle point that I got at Target on a completely unremarkable visit.

It's really a dilemma and I guess it's one that many collectors face. If I managed to get a Birkin bag, I don't think I'd ever take it outside the house. So there it would be, collecting dust.

There's a big difference between Birkins and Muji pens, though (about $11,999 worth). So I really should start to use my favorite pens. That would make me happy, and would probably get me to write more.

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