We've all heard about how the pen is mightier than the sword. I'm sure those words were very comforting to many a tonsured scribe in centuries gone past when faced with a huge, sweaty, chain mail wearing knight.
What I'm not so sure about is how one can ever redeem oneself if one has stolen a pen - the writer's tool of choice - from someone who makes their living from writing.
I know we all use computers these days, so arguably, pens don't hold quite the revered place they once did...but still. Stealing a pen from a writer is kind of like stealing pension money from old ladies. Just one of those things you should never ever do.
Now before you go assuming that I'm something that I'm not, I should clarify that I am not the pen thief. And in her defense, the pen thief is only three years old. But I was the one left holding the pen, so I suppose that makes me, um, implicated.
It all started out very innocently, with me arriving at a book signing event, small child in tow. I'd mentioned to her before going inside that I had my notebook in my bag.
"There will be people there that you don't know," I told her, "but you don't have to be nervous. If you don't want to talk to anyone, you can sit down in a corner and quietly do some drawing while mummy talks with the grown-ups."
I didn't realise that she was actually listening to me for a change.
We ventured inside, and the two authors, Tracey O'Hara and Nalini Singh were already there. Not surprisingly (seeing as it was a signing by two urban fantasy authors at a specialist sci-fi/fantasy bookshop) there were no other children in sight, and my daughter hung back as I went toward the table where the signing was taking place.
Image via Wikipedia
|Cardinal Richelieu with sword...but I'll bet he never tried sticking it in his mouth.|
It wasn't until I got home and was rummaging through my bag for some unrelated purpose, that I found an unfamiliar pen. It was the same pen which had been implicated in the mouth-stabbing incident, and as I'd been a little distracted at the time, I'd just assumed that both notebook and pen had been taken out of my bag. It wouldn't have been the first time, and I know she knows where they are.
Instead, my accomplished three year old had quietly lifted the pen lying unused on the authors' signing table - right from under all our noses.
Now I'm the somewhat guilty owner of a blue plastic pen from Sydney's Crowne Plaza Hotel at Coogee, where both Tracey O'Hara and Nalini Singh had just spent the weekend as part of the RWAustralia annual conference.
If pens are so mighty and all, maybe they bear amulet-like powers of creation - which begs the question; have I now got New York Times bestselling Nalini Singh's writing mojo? Or perhaps Tracey O'Hara's?
I'm thinking of writing longhand with my new blue pen for the next little while...just in case.
Oh, and if I ever see either author again, I'll give the pen back. Promise.