Writing My Life's Symphony
Daniel Yong, Division 2, 12th grade #ws17e-s2d2

Every Saturday morning, I clear off my desk, open my notebook, and begin to write. Some days, I only write a few sentences. Others, I write a few pages. What matters to me, however, are not the words on each page, but rather the signatures of my writing utensils at the end of each entry: ๐˜ณ๐˜–๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ 600, ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฐ๐˜น 2๐˜‰. ๐˜›๐˜ž๐˜š๐˜‰๐˜ ๐˜‹๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ 580, ๐˜‘.๐˜๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฃ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ ๐˜š๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ฎ๐˜บ ๐˜Ž๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜บ. ๐˜—๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ ๐˜‰๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฌ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ 602, ๐˜จ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฑ๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฆ. Each page is different from the rest, having had a unique combination of color, utensil, and stroke.

For me, writing is an outlet for self expression. With each sentence that I craft, I open a window to my mind, revealing my thoughts and feelings for all to see. In my mind, writing is akin to music. The words I choose are the notes that make up the melodies of my sentences and the symphonies of my writing. Like music, my writing pieces rely heavily on the instruments I useโ€”not instruments to be heard, but rather instruments to be feltโ€”in my case, the different combinations of pens, pencils, inks, and lead grades at my disposal. Each instrument is unique not only in how it feels, but also in how it looks on paper. The pointed tip of my wooden pencil grinds to a thick stub as I write, leaving behind a ๐˜ค๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ of graphite across the paper. The lead stick protruding from my mechanical pencil maintains a uniform thickness, creating ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฐ streaks as itโ€™s used. The dynamic and intensity that these two convey, however, is matched equally in allure by my fountain pen, whose golden nib leaves behind a string of shades as each upstroke shines bright, and each downstroke saturates the paper with rich color. Though the tone of each letter differs, they all remain connectedโ€”๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜จ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฐ.

Though Iโ€™ve enjoyed writing my entire life, my pleasure never stems solely from what I write; it also comes from the physical act of writing. The way a fountain penโ€™s nib gives under pressure before springing back into shape, the way a pencilโ€™s lead dissolves into the paperโ€”each writing utensil has its own feel, a unique voice that can only be perceived by using it. With each stroke, my instrumentโ€™s voice harmonizes with mine, and the sentiment behind my writing is enhanced.

I bought my first โ€œgoodโ€ mechanical pencil on a whim; I was curious to see what difference a โ€œhigher qualityโ€ pencil could make on my writing. When I pulled it from its box, I was unimpressed. The pencilโ€™s only immediate merit was its aesthetics; the sleek silver barrel seemed sturdy and professional. While it looked nice, it certainly didnโ€™t seem worth the amount I had paid for it. But after the first stroke, I was hooked. Unlike the pencils I used before, this one felt as if it were an extension of my body, not just a simple writing tool. Maybe it was the heft of its all metal body, contrasting with the featherweight feeling of my previous pencils. Maybe it was the knurled metal grip at the tip of the pencil, which nestled comfortably and firmly between my fingers unlike the bare plastic barrel of its predecessors. Maybe it was a little bit of both. Either way, I was in love. The pencil had planted seeds of passion for writing utensils, and my infatuation with my newfound favorite pencil quickly blossomed into a collection of mechanical pencils, fountain pens, wooden pencils, and everything between. My writing developed different styles and tones depending on what I used; with each unique combination of lead, ink, and writing utensil, my writing transformed.

More than just embellishing my work, my writing utensils allowed me to develop a personal flair. It is through this development that my instruments have become my most important piece of technology. With each utensil arrangement, I make a distinct mark on everything I write. The calm whisper of my cerulean ๐˜ฌ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ-๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฌ๐˜ช ink contrasts sharply with the glaring shout of my bright orange ๐˜บ๐˜ถ-๐˜บ๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ, but they both stand out and help me brand my work as my own. Just as I leave a unique signature on my writing, I strive to leave an impact on everything I do. The way each writing utensil leaves a different impression on my work parallels the various approaches I take towards life, always in pursuit of gaining new perspectives. Plainly completing a task isnโ€™t enough; I work to make each task my own, keeping an open mind about the myriad of directions I can take. Rather than simply taking life as it comes, I aspire to pioneer my own path, innovating and influencing the world around me. I will not simply play in someone elseโ€™s symphonyโ€”Iโ€™ll compose my own masterpiece.
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