Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tools of the Trade - Christopher Cerasi

Christopher Cerasi is a freelance editor currently living in Portland, OR.  Over the course of his career, he has written for Dark Horse comics and was an editor for the licensed publishing divisions of both Lucasfilm and DC.  He is also my very good friend.  What follows is Chris's account of a lifelong love affair with a very special pen.

I've been obsessed with Sharpies for years. I liked the original size for labeling boxes, folders, and notebooks, but it wasn't until I discovered the Ultra Fine Point Sharpies that I found my ideal everyday writing instrument. God knows I have my passing fancies and fickle affections, but these pens have been constants in my life for more years than I can remember. I use the black ink ones only; don't ask me why only black, just chalk it up to a writer's quirk. I don't leave the apartment without at least one in my pocket or in my bag. I use them for notes, writing checks, cards, and I even sign credit card receipts with them when I can. I get a few stares occasionally, probably because they think I'm a germophobe, but I've grown so attached to my Sharpies I feel more comfortable using them rather than just a boring generic ball point. 

There's something instantly satisfying about seeing the black ink hit the page, a vibrant burst of immediacy that manages to strike me with its boldness no matter how many times I see it. The Ultra Fine Points are the perfect width of ink, the ideal tool for my distinctive left-handed scrawl. I like their weight in my hand, the sleek, simple design that is easy on the eyes and has changed very little over the years. It's both comforting and timeless, a relatively cheap choice when there are so many high end fountain pens and ultra-modern writing implements out there. The Sharpie becomes an extension of me, of my thoughts (from an occasionally addled brain), and of what I want the world to see that represents me. It's a somewhat layered agenda to put on a simple pen, but there are very few things this deceptively simple pen can't do, least of all make me happy. And at the end of the day, isn't that what counts? 

As life gets more complicated and I find myself having to fill out forms I thought I wouldn't have to until years from now, to sign condolence cards, messages to new lives and ones that may not be with us much longer, to write something as simple as "I love you," I find the familiar shape and warmth of my Sharpie Ultra Fine Point comforting and strengthening. It sounds silly, I know, but try using one for a few weeks and see if I'm right. And if I am I'll make you sign your name to it with your own Sharpie. Boldly.

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