House is all around you & W1L 021: Write one leaf about your pen (or other writing instrument).

Have a photo dump.

This is a picture I didn't take of a ring I don't own. It's my cousin's, and it is quite exciting.

This is a Harry Potter bookmark that my youngest cousin got for me. If you tilt your head, you get...


I think I took a photo of this Harper's Bazaar while I was waiting at the dentist a few months ago... In any case, the print on that Dolce & Gabbana dress is still beautiful, and that cream sweater off to the left is knitwear perfection.

This was the wall in my room, as it appeared right before I took everything down because I'm moving to a new apartment to finish my last semester. Not the most exciting wall, but it was the only configuration I liked consistently (of the many picture/text combinations I tried) during all my time at my old apartment.

Oh man, that print in that length and weight of material, that hat, that coat, those boots, THOSE FINGERLESS GLOVES. This outfit makes me weak in the knees.

Coat, boots, silhouette. Perfect.


A poem by Ellen Bass, the presence of which on my wall is, I think, indicative of how glad I am to be 1) moving out and 2) graduating next semester.

That which I wish to always be able to say.


W1L 021: Write one leaf about your pen (or other writing instrument).

This is an unedited version of my original response to this prompt.

“I felt, that night, on that stage, under that skull, incredibly close to everything in the universe, but also extremely alone. I wondered, for the first time, if life was worth all the work it took to live. What exactly made it worth it? What’s so horrible about being dead forever, and not feeling anything, and not even dreaming? What’s so great about feeling and dreaming?”

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer

I am about to deeply misinterpret a familiar saying.

The pen is mightier than the sword. Perhaps. If you feel that engaging in life would be much too much effort, and that spinning in circles until your thoughts swirl together and are no longer palatable and that their slow crawl up your esophagus would be easier than embracing what is in front of you, I suppose you can choose the sword. I’ve spent most of my life contemplating death with what should be troubling regularity, but I’ve never been bothered by it. What’s so terrifying about nothingness? What I mostly fear is pain. If I knew I were to die by the sword, by someone running a dull saber through all my fleshy organs while I watched and felt it all, I would be scared. But death alone is comforting. Flunked a test? Don’t worry; it won’t matter because you’re going to die. Boyfriend broke up with you? Look on the bright side: you’re going to die! Can’t pay off your credit card bills? It’s okay, it really is, because you are going to die. Makes everything else seem so trivial, you know?

If it weren’t for this pen in my hand and the innumerable sheets of paper I have needed so far in my life, I probably would have liked the sword. But the pen is mightier than the sword. So much more difficult to wield. So much easier to make a mess. So much more cowardly. I am not a hero. I cannot save princesses from dragons or babies from burning buildings or kittens from trees. I don’t have a sword, you see. I have this pen. It’s ballpoint. The clicky kind. Blue ink. Jumbo pack at Staples. This pen does nothing for princesses or babies or kittens. But for me, this pen has kept me sane. It’s talked me into and out of fear, and guided me toward little decisions that significantly altered the course of my life, and big decisions whose repercussions are of such magnitude they aren’t even on my horizon yet.

In eighth grade, when I was applying for high schools, I had to write a timed essay about extenuating circumstances, or major changes in my life, or whatever they usually ask. I wrote about my father’s death, as it was the obvious choice. Maybe their acceptance was on the basis of pity points. In any case, as I was writing, I realized I had no way to be succinct about what it was for my father to die. About what overwhelming grief was. About the helpless anger I had at everyone who wanted to help. So I wrote what I could and finished by stating that there weren’t words enough to express what I needed to say.

And there aren’t. There aren’t. I am only really learning this now, six years after I left our classroom feeling vaguely present while I blinked a lot and everyone compared which school project or basketball game they had written about. As much as I want to tell this story to the world, for my own sake, I can’t. This effort is entirely, embarrassingly futile and always has been, but I can’t stop trying. The pen is mightier than the sword, and I am a coward.
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