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Patricia Barletta
Patricia Barletta
Patricia Barletta
Patricia Barletta

The Magic Pen

“The pen is the tongue of the mind.” – Miguel Cervantes…

This quote brought to mind an exercise I gave to my students in my high school British Literature class. “How is a pen like a magic wand?” I asked. At the time, I was trying to teach them the concept of a poetic conceit, an extended metaphor that the poet uses for at least a stanza, comparing one thing to another. Of course, I got the usual responses that a pen is shaped like a wand, and one can wave it like a wand. One of the girls had a glittery pen with a star on the end, held it up, and said her pen was a wand. (Thank you, Disney marketing department.) Not until after my students actually gave my question some deeper thought did they begin to come up with viable answers. A pen can make marks on the page that can be read. The act of reading those marks is magic. Those marks are actually symbols of intangible thoughts from someone’s mind, so the pen, which can transpose invisible things to something visible and understandable to someone else, is magic.

Magic. To be able to express our thoughts across distance and time to one person or hundreds or thousands of people can only be a kind of magic. Being a writer, a poet, a novelist, a storyteller is similar to being a mage from the myths of long ago. We have an idea in our head. We flesh it out, make it breathe. We examine our surroundings, our emotions, and somehow, we are able to transcribe them into words, marks on paper (or a computer screen – and that’s a whole different type of magic) that someone else can read and enjoy. We are allowing others to read our minds. Now I know about ESP, but it hasn’t really been accepted in the scientific world yet. Besides, not everyone has the ability to use ESP. So, the next best thing we have is the written word. And being able to read that written word. And being able to imagine stuff, and put that made-up stuff down on paper so someone else can enjoy our imaginary stuff along with us. How cool is that? It’s magic.

Categories: Blog Writing

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