#challengehull week 10…

365/17. Daily notes from the City of Culture.

Pen

Week #10 of Challenge Hull is courtesy of Pause Project, who provide a creative solution designed to address the needs of women who have, or are at risk of, multiple children being removed from their care.

They urge us to look around, go for a walk, see what we can see and collect objects as we go, then use our magic on these objects and inject them with new life, using glitter, glue, fabric, or anything else we might lay our hands on.

I ignored that brief, and went upstairs to ‘find’ something that I was given at Christmas. One of the most beautiful – and powerful – everyday objects with unfathomable creative potential: A pen.

In 1941, Woody Guthrie placed a sticker on his guitar that read “This Machine Kills Fascists”. And, of course, songwriters, Guthrie among them, have caused a lot of people to rethink their politics, brought about societal change, touched and entertained people, shone a light on wrongdoing or helped people understand life. Maybe he mainly used a pencil, I dunno, but at some point, I’d like to think that even the wielder of a Fascist killing axe will have put pen to paper to write some lyrics, or some dots on lines, down.

Writers in all forms, gripping pens, have sparked revolutions and transformed the world. The weapon of change remains the pen, even in these high-tech days. A pen, coupled with paper, is the primary tool to bring about change. Writing works. Words still work. Maybe that’s why they’re trying to close down libraries. And while it’s nice to tap away into your favourite text editor or phone app, those that know the power of the pen continue to wander the earth with a notebook in their pocket and several pens at hand; laying down thoughts, capturing overheard comments and conversations, exploring their feelings on what they see that is wrong with the world. Graham Greene once wrote, with a pen I hope, that his two fingers on a typewriter never connected with his brain. Only his hand on a pen did that.

There is no need to use glitter, glue, fabric or anything else. The glitter comes from the pen, the glue that binds us together likewise, the fabric that is required to bind society together also. Take your pen, and write about the abuses that people the world over are suffering at the hands of those in power, shine a light on the darkest, murky corners. Never has the pen been more important. It’s an analogue machine that, coupled with some intelligent and considered thought and creativity, can kill Fascists.

Go find a pen, now. And use it.

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