Thursday, February 26, 2009


Last night, as I was laid up wearily in bed, ready for a good night's sleep to recuperate from a long day of laying in bed, I watched some House. I laid out a couple of Alex's airport posters, which I am going to place in a stacked fashion on dowels so they're easier for the kids to carry. I read Jenny's Vogue which I had precariously slid off her nightstand from under her glasses and sleeping mask and have now returned without breathing. I read my scriptures. I chatted on the phone. I read a couple essays. I stared at the wall and picked my nose. When I began to become tired, I picked up my journal and the only pen I could find in the pile of stuff beside my bed and began to quickly record the events of the day. After about a paragraph, I stopped writing. I felt an alarming sense of confusion. Boredom. Tiredness. All-around disinterestedness. I felt as though someone had inserted a high-powered brain-sucking straw in my left ear and sucked most of my brain out very very quickly and very very sneakily until I only had about 10% of it left and noticed this only because of my extreme lack of interest in writing, all of a sudden.

I looked around suspiciously.

Had I taken too many narcotics? Was the ALIVE!!!! Vitamin C chalky nastiness powder I had been chugging all day starting to alter my likes and dislikes? Had someone, in fact, inserted some alien technology in my ear and, in fact, removed 90% of my brain? Was my lighting too low to write comfortably? I flicked my lamp on and off a couple times. I checked the top of my head for my glasses, to make sure they weren't there, and then checked my face, to make sure they were. I wasn't blind, I wasn't insufficiently lighted, I wasn't high. What was the problem here?

I looked down at the pen I was holding. A normal, maybe a little below-average pen, your run-of-the-mill white and green Orem Institute of Religion pen. Not chewed. Ballpoint. The clicker on top was nice and loud, and the body of the pen was curved and had a nice niche for the left-handed writer to place her entire fist in. Because left-handers basically just fist pens. It's a fact. Look around you. So, this pen was fine. It was a pen.
I next checked page 173 of my journal--the page I had moments before been recording the scintillating details of my life on. And I finally had my answer.

The pen I was writing with was blue.

The pen is blue.

Blue pen equals math.

Blue pen equals one right answer. Blue pen equals hard classes, classes where the books on the shelves are 40-100 copies of the same one. Classes involving distances and numbers and diagrams and labs and strange, foreign metal instruments that make right angles and circles that you're supposed to attach to your pencil that have one very poky end. Blue pen equals dusty gray graph paper with light blue lines that's too soft and rips too easily and on which is a jumble of figures that may as well be some Scandinavian language to you because that's how well you understand it--or, for that matter, how much you care about ever understanding it. In your life. All you get to write in the actual English language on this gray paper in this yucky blue pen is your name. You feel cheated. Blue ink isn't even good for doodling. Did you ever notice how much more you liked the sunflowers you drew in your margins in black pen than in blue? Whoever heard of a sunflower outlined in blue?
For that matter, even M.A.S.H. had much more artistic potential when written in black pen than written in blue. In black ink, you'd go for a much more exotic choice of pets, very descriptive wedding dress choices, the yearly incomes would be bigger (none of those $1 ones), there'd be a higher selection of temples to get married in, you wouldn't mind getting stuck in the shack with 1,000,000 kids, and you'd have a much bigger chance, somehow, of ending up with Ryan Cope than with Adam Gilmore.

Unreflective girl that I am, I chose to place a blue pen in my vicinity at some point yesterday, resigning myself to a shoddy journal entry and a creative gap that was truly frightening. I haven't experienced one like that since the last time someone asked me seriously to do a math problem. Luckily, all I did yesterday was eat McDonalds with Lanee, trap a fly under an orange prescription bottle on my windowsill and name it Bob Hope, and make a poster--so my journal content didn't suffer too badly.



Liesl said...

Who knew the power of blue? Oh, snap, I rhymed. But really, I'm the same with writing in my journal. I'd rather write with ALL BLACK for all my entries. Half blue, part red, part I cannot have this.

Lanee said...

I really, really think you need some company. I'm a teensy bit disturbed. Also I might never use a blue pen again. But really, have you thought at all about memorizing Gunga-Din? Also I love the new snappy red title. And you. And McDonalds.

Constance Marie said...

Haha do you know what that made me think of? Liar, Liar. THE PEN IS BLUE!!! It's true, though. Black, black is the only color pen really conducive to creativity. My journal is written in black. And it always shall be so.