That’s how many pens I now carry with me on a daily basis. Fifty-nine pens. No, you may not borrow one. I probably need to keep a couple of decoy pens on hand for when the question inevitably arises. It always does. Real Life Romance Hero knows to come to me first when it comes to office supplies, before heading to Staples or Office Max. He knows well enough not to ask, “do you have an X?” but “do you have a spare X?” Smart man. For those wondering if this is a post about pens, the answer is: partly.
To give some context, this is the latest addition to my daily carry:
The first time I saw it, I thought it was a planner. Easy mistake. It was in with a bunch of planners, the only pen case of its kind in the entire display. It even had a bunch of assorted gel pens already inside, in case the rows of pink elastic loops inside were not indicator enough. Three compartments. Ten loops on each side of each compartment. I did some quick math. If I played my cards right, I could carry sixty pens with me, every single day. Um, yes, please. Sixty pens, literally wrapped in motivational soundbytes? Double yes, please. Triple yes, please, because it coordinates with Big Pink.
Immediately, my mind swam. Sixty pens, yes, but what sixty pens? That’s the important question. Pencils? No, not in here. I love the pale pink interior too much. Pencil smudges would be a distraction. Pens, then. Also highlighters. Ooh. I have that set of pastel highlighters that has been, so far, hiding in a pouch, along with some fineliners. The workhorse pens, the ones I reach for the most, those could go in there, too, but what about the rest of the spaces?
There were a lot of attempts at filling those slots before I finally figured out that the highlighters were more substantial than regular pens, and an empty loop is not going to be the end of the world. Originally, the highlighters and workhorse pens were going to be on the side where the Stabilo fineliners (yellow barrels and colorful caps) now sit, because it took me a while to decide what had to go where.
Not what I wanted to go where; there’s a difference. My initial idea was that all twenty slots in the first compartment would be for workhorse pens/highlighters, the second for a set of markers, and the third would be my special pens that people who are not me better not even think about borrowing. The problem there was that I do not have twenty workhorse pens/highlighters. I’m not using bright highlighters right now, and I very rarely use ballpoints. (Purple Hannah Howell promo9tional pen, excepted) and I like to have pens next to each other look like they belong together.
The markers were the easy part. I had twenty Crayola Supertips, and twenty spaces in each compartment. Bam. Not too difficult at all.
(Mostly) rainbow order, like with like, as my mother would say (that phrase drove me bonkers when I was a kiddo, but I now see its use) and everything where I need it. This is a color coder’s dream. Never mind that I had to move everything over into the third compartment a few minutes later.
Part of that was because A) I didn’t want to carry twenty of my favorite pens around where anything could happen to them, and B) I counted my Stabilo fineliners, sitting next to my desk, in their original packaging, which I love, but rarely use (the pens, not the packaging, though that, too.) There are thirty of them. Hm. If I moved a few things around, I could have thirty spaces available, and then I could have them with me, literally all the time. Cue image of me shuffling pens around (also of dropping package of fineliners between chair and wall, then crawling around, searching for them, and counting to make sure they’re all there) and then slipping thirty pens into thirty slots.
“Um, Anna,” I hear some of you saying, “this post is literally all about pens. Or pen cases. Kind of a niche. That stationery blog might be something to think about, mkay?” I hear you, and I get it. Thing is, getting these pens in order, while simultaneously gearing up for Camp NaNo helped me notice that organizing writing implements and organizing writing have more than a few things in common.
What’s most important to me? What do I want to carry with me on a daily basis? Does it all flow together in a way that feels comfortable to navigate? Does what I want to fit in this space, actually fit in this space? Exactly what do I need to accomplish what I want to accomplish? Do I know how I want to use what I already have? Do I need anything that I do not currently have, and, if so, how and when do I intend to obtain it?
This case is for pens, and pens only (I count markers as pens.) I also love pencils, but those go in pencil cases, not a pen case. I also love sticky notes, but there’s no place for sticky notes in this case. No place for gummi bears, either, no matter how much I love them, so stuffing them in there would make no sense (and result in gross pen case and potentially inedible gummi bears; nobody wants that.) Maybe this is merely an excuse for me to play with art/office supplies, but maybe it’s more than that. Maybe it’s all part of getting closer to being the writer I want to be.