Excavation 2012 – Day #7 – Confessions of a Pen Whore

I know it seems a little cliche for a writer to have a pen fetish, but I’m not going to deny my sickness. I am addicted to pens–pens, pencils, markers, highlighters–any sort of writing utensil really. I’ll take a free pen, no matter who is giving it away.

The bad part is, I have a hard time getting rid of them, even the crappy ones. I will leave the pens that I don’t particularly care for sitting out for other people to use, while I keep my own secret stash of favorites tucked away.

Unfortunately, this means that on any given day, I have approximately 16,000 writing utensils hiding in my house. I’m starting to think I am toeing a fine line between being an eccentric writer and a certified hoarder.

So, it’s time to clean house.

I bought this little three-drawer storage caddy when I first started teaching in New York. and moved into a small studio apartment.

It kept my supplies organized–things like pencils and staples and paperclips. As the years went on, and Steven and I got married and combined all of our belongings into a house of our own, my little storage caddy suddenly became a catchall for anything even remotely office related–stamps, envelopes, cell phone accessories. Eventually, it was where we would toss all the junk that we didn’t know what to do with–matchbooks, half-stripped screws, buttons that we weren’t even sure we owned the matching outfits to anymore.

I actually had to partially disassemble the caddy to even open two of the three drawers. Yeah, we’re overdue for a cleaning.

Sadly, I found more junk than not, so I’m sure I’ll be revisiting the caddy for future Excavation blog posts, but for tonight, let’s focus on the matter at hand.

When it comes to highlighters, Steven is probably a bigger addict than I am. I prefer to underline, circle and write notes in the margins of my books. Steven, on the other hand, is a highlighting whore. Out of the 13 highlighters I found in the caddy, only 4 worked.

Moving on, here is the pile of pens, pencils, mechanical pencils, refill lead, erasers and markers that were hiding in the caddy. Half of them didn’t work at all, a small handful gave me an initial hopeful scribble then crapped out before I could finish the test drive, and one had even sprung a leak and started growing hair.


These pencils I held onto simply because they were too cute to get rid of. Unfortunately, I gave up writing with anything but mechanical pencils in high school, because I have serious issues writing with a dull pencil. It seriously makes my stomach turn. Should I ever get captured and thrown in some shady foreign jail and accused of being a spy, all my captors would have to do is force me to handwrite a 20-age essay with a dull pencil. I would tell them anything they wanted to know if they would just make the pain stop.

Because these are still too cute to get rid of, I’m setting them aside to give to some of my little cousins or neices and nephews who are just about the right school age to really dig them. After all, homework is always easier when you’ve got a cool pencil.

And for those who are curious, here is my current favorite pen–the Pilot G-2 with the extra fine 0.5mm tip. This baby is going back in my collection along with this small assortment that are still in perfect working order…

The rest of these are finally headed for the trash where they belong.

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