Nathan was one of my first Advanced Composition students and wrote this piece in his freshman year at VA Tech this fall.
Today is just one of those days. I’m supposed to be writing notes for the Psychology class I have in 78 minutes, but when I sit at my desk, open my book, and get out my black Pilot G-2 pen, it always seems to be out of ink. Not out of ink in the literal sense of the words, because the pen is new and full of the ominous black liquid that we know as ink, but in the sense that it is out of ink. I’ll explain. The pen is our body. The ink is our mind. The body (pen) is a vessel for the mind (ink). They work as one, and without the other each is useless. So, now, I’ll take my parallel analogy just one step deeper, into the realm of abstract thought and twisted realities. The pen holds the ink, thus, it is the body to the ink’s mind. Together, they are a tool. A tool that allows us to create words and numbers and pictures, but most importantly ideas. The pen and ink together enable us to make our ideas tangible. That is, they allow us to put our intangible ideas on paper. Without the pen and the ink, the ideas of the incredible human mind would never become reality; they would be left to drift through bleak human consciousness, away from the tangibility that turns ideas and dreams into realities. But, on a more basic level, it is the ink, the mind, that is the true creator, for it is the mind that carries out the action of conscious thought, not the body. Without the ink of the mind, ideas cannot become reality, and, thus, dreams cannot be achieved. Simplistically, the body cannot accomplish anything without the ink of the mind telling it what to do. This is my problem. For some reason, my pen seems to be out of ink. So, I write. Writing has the uncanny ability to spontaneously generate ink even in the deepest chasms of my mind. Writing is the lubricant that keeps the gears of my mind turning when life has drained the oil from my so-called engine. My first journal is finally almost full; only six pages remain, and when I look back and reread the words I have written, a fury of emotions erupts within my mind. I feel sorry for my journal, and yet, I respect it more than anything I possess. Through all my hardships, through all my pain, through the hell I have experienced, my journal has always been there, listening. Never once has it left me, and even in my darkest hours, it has the ability to drag my mind out of confusion and depression and doubt, and for that, I love it dearly. But, in the same sense, I hurt for it. I am sorry that it is the one that must bear my pain when I am not strong enough. It is my rock, and my crutch when I cannot walk. But, most importantly, it is me. My journal consists entirely of me. It contains my most raw thoughts and dreams that no one else has ever heard. It holds within it’s pages my life story, and the road I walked in becoming who I am as a person today. It knows my most desired dreams, my deepest fears, and my darkest secrets. It knows me more completely than almost anyone. But, above all, it understands me. It listens passively and does not judge. I can bend it, break it, cut it, criticize it, and yet, it does not turn away; rather, it turns the page. This is what we as people need to survive. We need to be understood as individuals and as human beings. We need to be understood and not judged, for judgment is a reification that only hurts the heart. We need compassion from others to survive as an individual. In the end, a dry pen and a lifeless mind, to me, can only be rehabilitated by the invigoration experienced by putting thoughts onto paper. And thus, writing.