I am grateful for the perfect writing implement, but having said that, I maybe should clarify that I am grateful for the journey of finding such a writing tool. Let me explain.
I used to think I would be an excellent skier if I had good skis and of course, matching attire in very cool colours, something slightly more form-fitting than my black and orange Moto-Ski snowsuit that kept the cold from my skin while I stood on Pembina Highway waiting for the Winnipeg city bus to rescue me from the freezing temperatures and whisk me off to the University of Manitoba, my orange scarf wrapped round and round my head as though my mother had dressed me for an expedition to the North Pole. Being warm out-ranked being cool as I am sure you can imagine.
I used to think I would be a better cook if I had the right pots and the perfect apron. No ruffles allowed. An apron in a bright green with possibly a frog leaping across the front would fit the bill. The ingredients would then jump into the mix with culinary precision, the aroma fragrant and the flavours decadent. I am a mediocre cook at best despite having a wonderful apron and reasonably good pots.
I used to think if I had the right shoes I could tap dance and the shoes would know all the right steps and I would tap out a story in perfect rhythm with the music. Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly would swoon if they witnessed my Double Buffalo and my Paradiddle and I would give new meaning to the Scuffle Step. I never owned a pair of tap shoes so perhaps that is why I didn’t have a career on the stage, though it wasn’t for lack of pretending on my childhood linoleum kitchen floor until those who didn’t appreciate my tapping talent held me down with harsh threats of stop making such a racket or else.
I used to think my world would demonstrate perfect order if I had the right refrigerator, a roomy one with shelves that move up and down and slide in and out. My refrigerator contents look like my cat put my food away and when I clean and polish and shine the insides of my refrigerator the results, like my life, display an organization that prevails for brief seconds.
But. There is always a but isn’t there, despite my reluctance to use that word in conversation and in conjuring up various options to problems. I have been on a quest for several decades now for the perfect pen. I have found one or two that came close but despite keeping a healthy inventory of them the pen was discontinued at some point. I need the right pen in my hand to do serious writing. I can rattle off ideas and lists with any old pen, usually a pencil, but when I am in serious writing mode I need the perfect implement. I have pulled the lid from my last “perfect” pen so I must begin my search again and I hardly know where to start. I sometimes look longingly at the pen sets that are under glass at the pen store. I never look at the price tag because that would be foolish. One can’t take such chances. It is bad enough buying a mattress without being able to sleep in it for a couple of weeks to be sure, but to buy an expensive pen with no guarantee of its perfection is madness, plain and simple.
I went through a fountain pen stage in school, the kind that required filling from an ink bottle and then I graduated to fountain pens that came with cartridges and they were exceptionally cool, but eventually I tired of the mess on my fingers. There are ball point pens, gel pens, roller balls and fibre tips of every variety and though I like a fine tip, it can’t be so fine that it scratches when I write. So before I leave for the Yukon to spend four months at the craft of writing, I must find a solution for my pen dilemma. Time is running out. Such challenges are the stuff of life. (My tongue is in my cheek just in case you weren’t sure.) I shall carry on.