Exploring expression with a familiar, yet unfamiliar, pen


My soul has been itching for something new lately.

I turn to words whenever I feel anything; I write when I’m comfortable, and I write when I’m uncomfortable. They’re my security blanket, my warm hug, my safe space. While I haven’t grown tired of words– I don’t think I ever could– my soul definitely has.

And while I may not have realized it, doing the same thing every day– even something that I enjoy– has taken a toll on my soul.

It’s tired of being fed the same thing every day; it’s yearning for food other than the words I’ve been incessantly shoving down its throat. One night, I finally listened to the starving sobs of my soul. One night, I decided to explore other mediums of expression.

One night, I fed my malnourished soul.  

Instead of picking up the pen and writing with it, I decided to do something out of the ordinary and out of my comfort zone. I threw away the expired words sitting on the shelf, the words that my soul refused to accept anymore, and I drew a dot.

I drew a dot instead of writing a word.

My fingers, so accustomed to writing words, were wary. They didn’t know pens were used for drawing, for expressing thoughts and ideas without explicitly saying anything at all. My dot was sitting patiently on the scrap piece of paper, waiting for me to finish the picture and finish the thought. As my soul started to anxiously anticipate a foreign food, I was growing more hesitant. I didn’t know if I could draw or if I was even allowed to draw. It didn’t feel right to do something so haphazardly that others do so diligently.  

It didn’t feel right to abandon words and hop onto the drawing train for a single night all in the name of feeding my soul.

But, alas, I was on the train, and I was stuck. Because I had already drawn the dot, so I guess I had to finish the picture. You can’t jump off of a moving train, right?

Without lifting the pen from the dot I originally drew, more and more of the big picture started to appear. My soul was so desperate for something other than words that it greedily took control of the pen and started to glide it across the page.

Soon enough, the big picture appeared. Soon enough, the scrap piece of paper with a mere dot scribbled on it transitioned into intertwining lines that somehow formed a drawing. The lines my soul drew seemed to be scrawled with absolutely no thought, no deliberation, no purpose.

It seemed as if my soul splattered scribbles onto the page just because it needed to be fed. There was no getting off of the fast-moving train that I jumped onto, and there was no stopping the starvation that my soul was experiencing.

One drawing wasn’t enough. It needed more.

Ripping paper after paper out of my notebook, letting my soul overtake the pen yet again, line after line was drawn and interlaced. The familiarity of the writing instrument faded as it turned into a drawing instrument; words were locked away and drawings were surfacing. The same pen I used to express thoughts– actual, written thoughts– was now being used to silently speak my mind.

Soul food was strewn about my bed; pages upon pages of scribbles and dots and lines formed a blanket of unfamiliar, yet comforting, expression. I had spent the night feeding my soul and, in turn, feeding my mind.

My soul was taken care of, and so was I. That night, I left my homework untouched and my words locked away. Surrounded by the combined works of my soul and me, I felt fulfilled.

Everyone is used to words. I’m used to words. The ones I write aren’t special to my soul anymore; my handwritten vignettes or 11-point Times New Roman poems never alter in appearance. Growing bleak and restless from the routine of carefully and precisely written thoughts, the unorganized scribbles surprised both my soul and me. It had never seen the unwritten expression that both I, and it, produced the night my pen changed from a writing tool to a drawing one.

It was so used to words and the look of them that the scribbled surprises nourished it more than words ever could.

I abandoned words for a night and fed my soul something out of the ordinary. Interrupting routine and familiarity, I explored a different branch of expression. I had used a familiar tool, but my ravenous soul transformed it into something completely new.

By the end of the night, the one-use pen turned into a dual-natured magic wand capable of nourishing a human soul.

By the end of the night, I was exhausted from expressing with such a spontaneous hand; I decided that the stack of drawings were more than enough for my soul.

Filing my soul food in a safe space, preserving it for a future time when words wouldn’t cut it anymore, I rested easy that night knowing my soul was happy and healthy.

And then, the next day, I wrote about a night when writing wasn’t enough.