Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Tale of a Pencil

Recently, a friend of mine and I were reminiscing about a teacher we had 30 years ago in high school. Mr. Beard. That was his name. He drove me a little crazy with his strict writing structure. But he definitely made an impression on me. From time to time I think about him and that class I had so long

The biggest impact for me came from writing in our daily journals. Every day we needed to write for the first ten minutes of our class. "Anything we wanted," he used to say. He would read them, but he wouldn't share them. I can't speak about anybody else in the class, but in those first weeks, I can pretty much sum up what I wrote in just a few words. they include:

"Paul is a babe. I love Paul. Paul is cute." Paul was my boyfriend and needless to say, I was enamored. 

One day, Mr. Beard had had enough of our diaries. The thing is, I always had the impression that he had enough of my diary and his displeasure was really aimed at me personally. I am not sure if that is true or not, but that's how it felt at the time.

That being said, after a lecture to the class about how disappointed he was with us, or possibly with me personally, he decided to change the 10 minute diary into a 10 minute free-writing session based on a word that he wrote on the chalkboard. The word could be an inanimate object. Maybe something like desk, sky, or car. It might be an action. Running, jumping, standing. It could be anything at all really. Just one word that we had to write a story about.

I loved those assignments. I must have loved them since I remember them all these years later. And as a result of my new found dedication to the class, it seemed that he stopped being annoyed with me too. When I discontinued writing about my love life and started to pay attention to the class, he could see that I actually had some writing genes in me. He once told me that I was a good writer and had the potential to be a great writer. Really? Moi? I wanted to be a writer since I was ten, so to hear that from this guy was a big cherry on top of the proverbial ice cream sundae.

Since my friend and I had recently talked about him, I sort of conjured him up in my head while I was out for my evening walk tonight. In my mind I sat in his class. I was sixteen years old again. I had a piece of gum in my mouth. I was a lot skinnier than I am nowbut I digress. In the vision, he wrote on the chalkboard "pencil." That's when the silliest of silly stories began formulating in my mind. I started to giggle, which turned into a full on guffaw. Here I was writing in my head, while out on my walk and laughing while I was doing it. People drove by and probably thought that I had smoked something a little funny. But that didn't matter. I was having fun. And I wanted to share that fun here with you. 

But before we get into the story, I would like to thank Mr. Beard. That teacher from so long ago, who may have driven me a little nusto from time to time, but nevertheless, he had a very large impact on me. And wherever he may be in this great big Universe, I send him my gratitude. 

Here is my story...

The Tale of a Pencil
by Lisa Tunney

Hello. My name is Peter the Pencil. Everyone calls me Peter the Pencil. Well, everyone except Pavlina the Pen. She doesn’t call me Peter the Pencil. She calls me Pedro the Pencil. She says it suits my racy style. You see, I am a red pencil. While the other pencils in the cup where I live are all long and yellow and have an eraser on top of their head, I am red and have more meat around me than those other guys. Pavlina the Pen says that she likes that I go around walking on the wild side. While those other pencils play it safe by having those eraser-hats on top of their heads, I go eraser-hat free. I am more of a rock and roll kind of pencil if you must know the truth about it.

But, that’s enough about me. Let’s talk about Pavlina the Pen. You see, she is my girlfriend. I think she’s the cat’s meow. The pen of all pens! A Goddess among writing utensils. To me she is just about as perfect as perfect can be. She lives in the cup next to mine with all the other pens. But she is different. While those other pens are all black or blue, she is purple! My favorite color!

Pavlina the Pen sure does have a sexy exterior. And she is just as fun on the inside too. I know because when Susie—the kid who sits at this desk where we all live at—when she comes in, she picks up Pavlina the Pen first. She draws with her, creating all kinds of flowers and houses. Those other pens only get to do homework. Bleck! B-O-R-I-N-G—boring! But Pavlina the Pen gets to create such beauty. Moreover, Pavlina the Pen has the most sonorous voice. It’s deep and it’s Russian. You know what they say about those Russian Pens. They write with a bite! And I love my little Pavlina the Pen!

So, yea, Pavlina and I have a thing. We just wish we could live together in our own cup, while the other pens and pencils all could share their own cup together. They are all so much alike anyway. I am sure they wouldn't mind being crammed in one cup. So, Pavlina the Pen and I decided to pray to the God Crayola. We prayed and prayed. We prayed so much and so hard that we actually fell asleep. We slept right on through that first math lesson that Susie has every day.

When I woke up, I noticed something different. There was more room to breathe in my cup. Then I realized that all the other pencils were no longer living in my cup. They were next door with the pens in their cup. And Pavlina the Pen was no longer in her cup. Where was she? She was always front and center and she was no longer there! Oh no!

That’s when I heard that sonorous Russian voice.

Pedro dah-link. I am right here next to you.”

And she was! She was right next to me in my cup. In our cup now. The God Crayola listened! He granted our wishes. I want to have a sign made for our cup. It will say “Peter (aka Pedro) the Pencil and Pavlina the Pen.” Everyone will know this is our place now.

...and so the story goes that the two most different writing utensils found their way to each other. Instead of being dull and lifeless, they learned to be themselves and to speak their truth. And as a result Peter the Pencil and Pavlina the Pen lived happily ever after... 

The End.

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