With my knees knocking and a mouth that suddenly went bone dry, I cleared my throat, "The pen is mightier than the sword", I began...but before I could even finish my first sentence some wise guy in the back row shouted, "Hey Teach, you obviously haven't come across a real professional swashbuckler lately, have you?" - and the classroom erupted in laughter.
For a moment I was stymied; but quickly regained my composure with an answer, a pun and hopefully a silencer.
"No young man, not lately", I paused, "but I knew Robin Hood personally, way back when", (chuckles and titters could be heard) "and he could only kill or maim one person at a time with his sword; whereas one deft stroke of the pen can dissuade, divert, persuade, sway, enchant, educate, inform, encourage, enlighten, intrigue, inspire, divide, satiate or destroy millions... do I need to continue with more verbs, or have I made my point?"
The room was silent.
It's been twenty five years since the incident of Teacher vs Heckler, a/k/a "Bad Day At Black Rock", or perhaps more appropos..."Bad Day For New Teacher".
Today, instead of being a teacher by profession with a part-time hobby - I've turned things around a bit; now I'm a retired teacher with a full-time hobby of "pencrafting".
Being a "pencrafter" is just another word for being a "writer, inkslinger or wordsmith"; but I like to think of myself as being crafty with a pen. After all, that's how my writing hobby actually began...penning "crafty" letters that persuaded, moved, delighted or swayed minds.
Take, for example, the following: I desperately needed a job, so....
After pounding the pavement for five days with no luck, I decided to give my blisters a break and take Ma Bell's suggestion to "let my fingers do the walking".
Picking up her big, bulky, yellow book, I leafed through the pages until I came to "Detective Agencies". (I chose this particular Listing due to my previous employment experience with G-2 Criminal Investigation in the military.)
Step #2 involved taking my portable typewriter down from the top shelf of the closet and knocking out five letters of inquiry to the five nearest Agencies to my neck of the woods, and then mailing them posthaste.
Step #3 was the most difficult...waiting.
During the five day wait my blisters began to heal as my ears and knees took over their duties. Ears listened for the sound of telephone and/or mailman, while knees constantly did knee bends petitioning my Heavenly Father for assistance in getting a job.
By the end of the week I'd received three phone calls, had three interviews which included three job offers. (I chose the one with the niftiest name and nicest manager..."Ogle Detective Agency".) All three potential employers had one phrase in common - "Your letter of Inquiry was impressive", they said, "you definitely have a way with words".
During the next few years I heard the phrase "You have a way with words" repeated often, especially after having sent off a crafted letter to sway, divert, change minds or move mountains; so, by the time I retired I was well on my way to becoming a genuine, bona fide pencrafter.
However, Writing is not just an Art - but a talent. A love gift from our Heavenly Father, to be worked, honed, improved, developed and used to Glorify His name.
Without God, Man is nothing but a chunk of Georgia clay, glob of Mississippi mud, a handful of desert sand, a clump of outback sod, or just a piece of earthen dust...until God lovingly formed and created him and breathed into him the breath of Life.
Therefore, I, A self-proclaimed Pencrafter, do solemnly swear that to the best of my ability, I will join Writers, Inkslingers, Scribes, Penmen, Poets, Essayists and yes, definitely Faithwriters in their determined efforts to point our fellow earthlings to the Creator, to the Savior of the world, and to their Eternal Home in Heaven, as long as my time on earth shall last...so Help me God!
Signed on this 20th day of January in the year of our Lord 2007.
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