My father was a plumber. He wanted to be a writer. But he was a plumber.
Oh, he was very intelligent, or my mother would have never married him, but the fates lined up to cast him in the role of a plumber.
He tried a typewriter once, but that didn’t work out. His hands and fingers were used to caressing pipes and wrenches, not things as delicate as typewriter keys.
Dad tried a number of pencils and pens, but he never found just the right implement.
Until one day at a second-hand store, he saw this large-barreled fountain pen. It was one of those old-fashioned fountain pens with a rubber bladder inside to hold the ink. The user would dip the nib into an ink well and suck ink into the bladder with a lever. Something about this particular pen seemed special to my father, so he paid the buck twenty-five and brought it home.
The pen turned out to be special indeed! While holding this pen, my Dad was actually able to write – to create!
He would stay up later and later, just writing. His writing became an obsession, and he lost his job because of it. He didn’t care. As long as he had paper and ink, he was satisfied.
Of course, without a job, we had no money. No money for rent. No money for food. Eventually, my mother shook Dad out of his stupor, and he went back to work.
Years later, after both my parents had died, I was sorting through some of their belongings, and found some of the pages my dad had written. The penmanship was flawless. The prose was spellbinding. I was even able to have some of his work turned into a book. It wasn’t much – sort of a diary – so we called it LIFE IN A HAUNTED HOUSE.. It never made any money after all the fees, but it was a book! I even published a couple of his songs! My father was a published author!
I also came across the pen.
My dad was right to buy it. That pen fit so perfectly into my hand. The first words I committed to paper just flowed. It was as if the pen was able to sense my meaning – my ever nuance – and create beautiful words. Magical words.
I doubt very much I could have found ink for this pen. Not with all the plethora of computers and tablets and such flooding our world. But not only was my dad’s pen magical in creating a new world of words, it also had an endless supply of ink! It was marvelous! I even named it – Lionel!
One day as I paused to answer the phone, my hand held the pen loosely and it started to doodle. My hand was in control, but the lines and whorls turned into independent designs and pictures. As I hung up the phone, I looked at the image more carefully. It seemed to be in 3-D!
I pulled the pad of paper closer and closer. My eyes focused on the free-hand cartoon and the page seemed to peel back and reveal even more and more. Soon, I was able to see past the page and INTO the world below! A complete, accurate depiction of a world far away from our own. The people were caricatures. The backgrounds were highly stylized. A world no one had ever seen before. Except me.
It was mesmerizing.
Only another phone call brought me out of the spell. I talked about mundane things. Agreed to call back another time. The image didn’t move now – just a sketch in the corner of my writing pad.
I didn’t look at that pad the rest of the day. I was exhilarated, with just enough fear to keep me away.
It has now been three days since I looked at the drawing. I have been busy making plans. I made sure my will and final directives were up to date. I kept all my appointments, and then cleared my calendar. I told my friends and my family I might be gone for a time, not to worry.
In two more minutes, I am going to go through with my plan. If you don’t hear from me again, everything is okay. I am doing this with a clear and sane mind.
I am going to go in to the drawing.
I have adjusted the pad of paper.
My dad’s fountain pen will be the last thing to go into the drawing. This will enable me to continue writing up to the last second.
My feet are inside.
Now both arms.