Pens with Powell

It’s a practice that begin in 9th or 10th grade. After seeing the old notebooks of my dad, in his neat, printed handwriting. That very day, I ditched my mechanical pencils and my sloppy, middle school handwriting. It took some getting used to. with lots of accidental lowercase letters and flipping my pen around to erase what were suddenly permanent mistakes etched into my spiral notebook. Now, though, years later, pencils feel flimsy and waxy and less substantial if I try to do anything but sketch. Even writing the date next to a portrait or drawing of a giraffe in my sketchbook feels odd. I just love writing in pen. And seeing pen marking the page.

I had a friend in high school whose love of ball points pens went unrivaled. He was one of the first people I ever met in my large and daunting public high school, in Algebra 1 on our first day of freshman year. His name was Powell. He was usually more tan than the rest of the guys around him, cause he played tennis for the high school and had long tournaments outdoors on the weekends. We had a few classes together through high school, but it wasn’t until AP Government in my junior year that we really started to connect on the pen-front.

By then, the pencils were long gone from my – pencil case. And every other day, I walked into Mrs. Darcy’s classroom (though we always called her Miss Darcy), sat down, and quickly turned to my right, looking one row over and three seats back to Powell, lounging against the back wall, staring me down with a new fancy pen in his hand and a smirk on his face.

We swapped pens and complimented the action on the click. Measured the weight and balance. Tested them on the corner of a page page, just a few signatures and squiggles, with maybe a checkbox or two.

That was the friendship. That’s what I always think about when I think of Powell. And whenever I find a pen with a particularly good click or a line as smooth as can be, I think of Powell then, too.

I write with a Pilot G-2, 0.7mm. It’s basic. But I wonder what Powell writes with these days. I bet it’s got a great click.

One Reply to “Pens with Powell”

  1. I like this a lot. Very memoir-like. If I had a wish, I’d love to read this with a little more about the why’s, the lessons, or a parallel into some other life truth or something weaved in. But as-is, it’s warm and innocent and beautiful.

    -LS

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