Morissa Schwartz was born in October, a time when pencil sales are at their lowest. People tend to buy pencils only the month before during the beginning of the school year and then when it is standardized test time, but never in October. Yet for Morissa, October was the month she would always get a new set of mechanical pencils. Every year for her birthday, she was given a new box, each one different. She received neon colored ones, mechanical pencils designed to look like number twos, red ones, ones with funny logos on them…
She would use these pencils to doodle the faces of her close friends. Then, she would draw her dogs. Her Shi tzu would always be eating in her funny drawings. And the Maltese would always have a toy in his mouth. She would draw spirals in the margins of her notebooks and crazy shapes, which she would connect to her words and song lyrics. She would write the words to her favorite songs over and over. First, songs by the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Evanescence. Later, she’d write the words she heard Jack White and The Beatles croon. And after that, she began to produce her own words. Words that reflected her innermost thoughts and memories hat she did not even know to exist.
As she got older, Morissa used these pencils to write stories. At first, she wrote a lot of fiction. Her pencil spoke of the time a talking dog named Murphy saved the town from a fire. She wrote about a talking pumpkin that didn’t want to be turned into pie. She never did like pumpkin pie. Later, she used her pencil to write about three misfit middle schoolers who defy the odds and win their school’s talent show.
When Morissa grew just a bit older and began to form life experiences, she would use her neon green pencil to write about those times. She wrote of her forth birthday party in a bowling alley, when her best friend at the time dropped a bowling ball on her finger and fractured it. Yet, Morissa was too busy with her own game to worry about her friend’s pain and kept playing. She and that friend never spoke again after that day. Writing about the experience with her metalic pencil was Morissa’s way of working through the guilt of her first friendship lost.
And when Morissa’s closest relative, her great-grandmother, died, on paper she still lived. Morissa used the pink pencil her memom gave her to write about life with her special relative. Times spent singing, playing, and laughing. Happy memories.
And Morissa used her sharpest pencil to write a note to her high school guidance counselor when her best friend who was being bullied said he no longer wanted to live. Her pencil may have saved a life that day.
Morissa’s many pencils have come and gone. She has probably amassed thousands over the years. Her pencils are almost as fleeting as her memories would be if it weren’t for the writings that they produce, which keep them alive on paper.