For most of my life, my eyes were inkwells. They began spilling over at seventeen. I woke up, drenched in ink, stuck with pages, and wanting more. So, I let my wells leak and my ink stain. My blank pages blackened and soon I worried about floods. Later, with sopping paper and a floating mind, I worried about droughts. Between floods and droughts, old ink swam to new eyes. That’s how I ended up in Georgia.
I’d never read my ink spills to strangers. A few classmates here and there. My sister, mostly. Even then, my writing felt like chicken scratch compared to the bound paperbacks piling up on my twenty-dollar bookshelf. So, when the English Honors Society sent me a letter, stamped and sealed, I did not expect an invitation.
Writing is an intimate act. A quiet bond between a person and a page. The reader is a faraway fantasy, a dream. When my ink first began spilling, I never dreamt I’d have eyes other than my own to soak it all up. In Georgia, that dream came true. That intimacy grew to contain a room full of strangers, of eyes.
The fantasy of other inkwell eyes haunts my pen. It stilts and sways at their every blink. There is a responsibility that comes with inkwell eyes. A responsibility that weighs down my every stroke. I know even if my ink is only a drop in the well of another’s eyes, it still has left an irreplaceable mark. A blot of help or hurt.
The saying is true. There is power in a pen. A power I promise to wield with the care it deserves. Because I am in awe of your inkwell eyes – forever grateful, forever scared.