r.i.p. pen

Someone wise once said that the pen is mightier than the sword.  Communication is a powerful thing – the stroke of a pen has the ability to swing a thousand swords.  The stories we tell with the words and images that trickle from our pen tips have the ability to change the world.

As a designer at an architecture firm, drawings literally pay my bills. Pens are viewed as tools, as a means to an end.  But they’re also much more than that… they magically manifest the insane pattern of electrical impulses firing between the billions neurons in my brain into an intelligible physical reality.  My strange primate brain oozing its musings across the paper, turning nothing into something.

Over time, I find that a certain relationship will develop with a pen.  Through thousands of scribbles I start learn its subtleties.  Its strengths.  Its weaknesses.  Similarly, it learns mine – the pen becomes a confidant by proximity as it divulges my innermost thoughts, my ideas, my goals, my stories, my pictures, my grocery lists.

This morning, my pen died.  I think it led a good, full life.  This particular pen was a personal favourite having travelled with me for quite some time to destinations all over the world.  Airports in Texas, parks in Vancouver, streets in Barcelona.


I suppose it should be saddening to lose something dear, but it’s also a little bit liberating.  It’s nice to pause and reflect so vividly on the life of something so trivial and insignificant.  Though I can’t exactly look back through my papers and sketchbooks to point out the specific work of this pen with absolute certainty, I know much of its work survives on those pages.  The legacy will live on.  Maybe that is what this is all about – a metaphor for leaving a mark on the world.

It is also a time of opportunity.  Freshly arisen is the need to appoint a successor – the scrivener elect.  A new confidant to explore and change the world with.  A new pen that I can chew the end of.

So here’s to the 0.5mm Pilot V5 Hi-Tecpoint with pure liquid ink, black, obviously. Hopefully it had more than one fine point in its life.  Pen pun.

Rest in peace, Pen.

Notes from this post:

  1. According to Google, the English words “The pen is mightier than the sword” were first written by novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, in his historical play Cardinal Richelieu. Pretty badass that these words live on, Ed must’ve been a smart guy.
  2. I learned that the human brain has roughly 100 billion neurons and confirmed my suspicion that humans are in fact considered primates, sharing almost 99% of our DNA with chimpanzees. Science.

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