Conference Pens and other assorted Swag Thoughts
I went to the country's largest book fair last Friday, and came away with nearly 100 free pre-pub galley copies of new books. The trunk of the car was loaded. A trunk-full of new books makes me very happy, indeed. But I also made time to stuff some freebie pens into my bulging bags as well. It's made me think about Pen Giveaways, and whether I like them or not.
So as we all know, I have more pens than I will ever be able to use in this particular lifetime. And I have lots and lots of Good Pens (I define Good Pens as basically anything better in quality than the disposable bic ballpoint, medium tip, black ink that I used on my ballot when I voted today). So why do I grab cheap crappy pens from assorted independent publishers I've never heard of and don't care about, as if the Great Pen Shortage is coming?
I've talked about hoarding before, and how I do it, and why. But I'm deciding that I don't really want to hoard all these pens from Ingram Library Services. Because they kind of cheapen the act of writing itself for me. Even when I just write my daily to-do list on a post-it, I want to take it seriously and actually enjoy writing out my to-do list. Which is why I get pretty post-its with flowers and winnie-the-pooh on them. So why on earth would I ruin all that prettiness with crappy pens?
There was a time, relatively not so long ago, when most people couldn't read or write, and the very act of communicating via the written word was reserved for the upper classes. There were beautiful painted manuscripts with gorgeous handwriting written in expensive inks. And writing was special. Though writing is more democratic now (though, sadly, not in all parts of the world, or even our country for that matter) that doesn't mean it has to be taken for granted anymore than it was then. Writing with a pen, and being able to be in contact with people via pen and paper is a special privilege that we get to enjoy, and life's too short to waste our precious writing with a crappy pen that leaks, doesn't feel nice, or scratches the paper.
Thus, I will be donating all my Conference Pens (except the ones with real sentimental value!) to Goodwill.
And on another note, I wrote a real letter this week. It made my hand hurt. I'm not used to writing that much with a pen at once. I'm used to typing. It kind of made me angry. Even when I journal, I'm not writing quickly, so I guess I don't feel it. I'm going to have to do some hand-exercises. Maybe lift pen weights with my fingers.