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I signed my newest book contract with a chewed over Bic pen.


If this were a scene from a novel, it would have been a fountain pen that once belonged to my grandfather. Maybe a mother of pearl pen that was given as a graduation gift by my mother. In books, these things are much more picturesque than in reality. In reality, the big things in life unfold in tiny steps that we hardly notice until we’re looking back on them and see the pattern. If we knew that scratching our phone number on a scrap of paper would be the beginning of an epic love, we might have chosen our writing tool more carefully.

Or maybe not. When time is of the essence and your Happily Ever After is at stake, you grab whatever is closest.

With Valentine’s Day, there is the expectation of grand gestures, but sometimes the most romantic things are the little things that happen every day with the ordinariness of a Bic pen. A close squeeze, a soft kiss, the same old words repeated over and over again until they become as comfortable as old slippers. Love you, honey. Love you, too.

Ordinary. But perfect.

I wrote to Bic, and I told them that I’m an author who signed her latest contract with her trusty old Bic pen. I didn’t explain all of this to them, because I didn’t think they’d really care. Someone in a customer service department emailed me and said that they’d like to send me some samples.


I was touched, because while this was probably something that meant very little to whomever was working that desk, a collection of ordinary pens makes me happy. These are the pens you don’t get upset to lose. You buy them by the fistful and end up with one left after a week.

“Where are all the pens? Seriously!”

They are the pens you grab for a grocery list or a love note. These are the pens you snatch up to sign a contract without even thinking that perhaps you should have grabbed something prettier. These are the pens of real life. Not a fountain pen. Not a treasured keepsake.

Sometimes it isn’t about an epic gesture, but about all the little things that combine into something extraordinary. Like chewed over pens, a dashed off note, a coffee date or a book idea jotted down on a napkin.

You never do know what beautiful things lay curled up underneath the ordinary!