Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Writing (01/11/07)
TITLE: When the Writer's Away
By Brad Paulson
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“That’s it, I’m going for a walk” he said to himself, “deadline or no deadline.”
He set his pen down next to his writing tablet. The silence in the room shattered as he pushed his chair away from the desk. The chair screeched against the floor, abrupt and abrasive like a scream. For a brief moment the noise seemed to bring the room to life. Silly, he thought, the sound disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. The study was still and silent again. The living world was waiting outside.
The door closed behind him, an argument immediately ensued.
“It’s your fault he didn’t write anything,” said the tablet to the pen.
“I don’t see how you can say that,” said the pen, “I’m the only reason he can write at all. You’re just a convenient flat service to write on.”
The room came to life as the others began to listen in on the conversation. The two guest chairs sat motionless, but their focus was on the commotion. Several of the books in the bookcase leaned forward so they could hear better. Even the family photographs that adorned the corner of the desk shifted their eyes to the conflict before them.
“Oh yeah? Well I’ll have you know that I am much more than a flat surface. Before paper was available, people had to scratch or chip ideas onto stone tablets. It could take months just to write down a simple recipe. In fact, you could starve to death writing a recipe. Early cultures began to develop crude types of paper over five thousand years ago from the barks of trees. Mass production and wide usage began around the thirteenth century which in my book, if you’ll excuse the pun, was the beginning of mass communication and was a major turning point in the civilized world. In fact, one might argue that the world would never have advanced beyond the stone age had it not been for paper.”
The pen could not help but rebut, “Oh yeah? What you failed to mention is that the cavemen that were scratching those stone tablets were actually using a crude predecessor of the modern day pen. They started scratching with a sharpened stone and realized that if they dipped it into blood or berry juice they could make a pen. With time, writing instruments became more and more refined to the point that by 1700 BC alphabets were being developed, all because of pen technology. I don’t see how anyone in their right mind could argue that a piece of paper is more important than a glorious writing implement, especially when it is so obvious that writing implements led to the development of modern day language. Furthermore, to imply that a pen could be anything but beneficial to a writer is absurd.” The pen relaxed, confident that his brilliant argument would end the discussion.
“I think you’re both delusional,” said a voice from the desk tray nearby. The wise old eraser had kept silent until now, but his blood was boiling. “Do you two fools actually think that you have played a part in shaping mankind?”
“Well, I think I did, but I don’t think he did,” said the pen.
“That’s ridiculous. The only reason that either of you exist is because man created you. You were created entirely for his use and pleasure. Your past, present and future have and always will be entirely at his discretion. You are a product of his creativity. He is not a product of yours. And, furthermore, if at anytime you become non useful or displeasing to him, he could discard you in an instant. I suggest that you focus your energy and thoughts on how best to serve, and less time on who serves best.” The eraser paused to catch his breath, then softened his voice, “It is a kind and generous writer who has provided this home for us. If we ever begin to think that he needs us more than we need him, we will be in deep trouble.”
“Quiet you guys,” said a voice from the bookcase, “He’s coming back!”
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