top of page


The Pen's Soul

Catherine Duong

Volume 4 Issue 1

November 6, 2023

The Pen's Soul

Image provided by iStock

Author’s Note:  

The story below was my first draft of my college admission essay, talking about my life like a pen and breaking free from being controlled by outside forces. Since my English teacher said it was too fictional/not straight to the point, I could not let this go to waste, so I transformed it to make it into a fictional story by tweaking it a little. As this tale has not specified who the hand is, feel free to symbolize it differently while you read!    I, as a soul of a pen, wrote words in neat, straight, and perfect rows for all my life, being fully guided by the hand. My black ink flows as smooth as untouched snow against the paper. Until I’ve found curiosity in numerous things, like... what if I write each word with one smooth stroke? What if I bend letters in a bubbly or ridged way instead of the standardized and authentic Arial font? What if I use different colors for my ink like yellow or green? And so I began, dragging my tip against a clean sheet of paper for testing all sorts of things from different fonts to using all sorts of colors without the guidance and silent observance of the hand. As a pen, we are always guided by a hand or hands, and I never fathom or thought of the idea of independence; doing everything all by myself. Dependence is something I’ve stuck with my whole life up until now. As I kept exploring over time, I found new ways to express myself, growing out of the ordinary of a regular blue or black pen and creating my own ‘voice’ through my strokes across the paper. It’s like those humans who found themselves in different hobbies and making them, them!  

Until there came a day where the hand scanned my actions, their movement at first hesitant, but instantly grabbed hold of my body, their fingers intwined. I would typically let them hold me, but this time I felt different. This newfound knowledge from my experiments gave me some kind of weird strength to rebel against the hand, and so I did. I attempted to wiggle myself free from their grasp, but all the hand did was grasp onto me tighter and force me back to where I started. Over time, there was a constant long, and conflicting cycle between the hand and me: I tried to express myself, and the hand saw me and finally forced me to undo my discoveries. As much as I wanted to surrender, I refused to. After pondering on how to break this endless cycle, I hid under the desk by rolling away and slipping away the cage I was once placed in, now free.  




bottom of page