“Writing with Super Pencil,” Dylan DuLac (2016) — Inquiry 1

Reflecting on my past years, I vividly remember my first encounter with writing. I was five, old enough to spell, but not quite at the age where words carried substantial meaning. It was a summer afternoon. I picked up the house phone and called my neighborhood friend over. Ryan, who was a bit older than I, was somewhat of a loose cannon. His imagination was extraordinary and his energy levels were through the roof. Ryan was the most unfocused kid I had ever met. Prescribed all sorts of AD/HD medications, he was never quite able to complete tasks without becoming overwhelmed by distractions. I remember the day when Ryan entered the house, an enormous grin beamed from ear to ear. Before I could say anything, he shoved a stack of paper into my chest. I looked down and saw illustrations, not just any random drawings; these illustrations were full of color, neatly organized in small boxes. Ryan looked at me and said in a matter-of-fact manner, “See this. These are comics. I made them. They are going to make me rich.” I thumbed through the pages. Something was missing; there were no words on the page.  He looked at me and said, “I need a partner. I can’t write too well. Will you help me?”

For the next couple of hours we made comic books.  We thought of a storyline and a main character. We dreamed-up a six foot tall living pencil who had the ability to fly through the air. The “super-pencil” guarded elementary schools from the dangers of the world. I was most surprised by Ryan’s actions. Here, the most distracted kid in the

world actually put his mind towards something important to him. In any normal circumstance, Ryan’s energy and never-ending voice can be heard from everyone in the room. But this time, he was deep in concentration, saying very little.

As we created the drawings, I recall feeling an odd sense of power. After every finished comic, I felt good about actually making something on my own. As I came up with the storyline and dialogue, Ryan followed up with his own interpreted illustrations.  I remember my hand hurting from all the writing. But nothing got in my way. I tried to write as fast as I could but my brain was winning the race. For the first time, I felt as if writing was not tedious like it was in school. Writing was my imagination on paper. I couldn’t stop. For hours I transformed my crazy ideas into something real.

For the most part, school has dictated my writing career. I have written numerous lab reports, essays, narrative pieces, you name it.  To no surprise, I never enjoyed any of it. Looking back, I have never done much writing outside of the classroom except when I was kid.  After ‘The Super Pencil” made its first debut, my passion for creative writing exploded.  I spent hours on the weekends making comic books. I found myself completely distracted in class, trying to think of my next story.  Of course, as a young entrepreneur, I had to make a little money on the side.  I sold the comics to my parents and to some of my friends. Writing this way was somewhat of a mental release for me. It was until I entered third grade when I lost interest in writing altogether.

I never liked structured writing.  It has always made me feel constricted and nervous. The classic “five paragraph essay” bores me to death and I am always too worried about getting a good grade. To me, writing reflects inner meaning and evokes

reaction from the reader. When I turn in a paper for school, I feel as if my work is completely unoriginal. Standing in line with 20 other students (with the same material) makes me think my writing is meaningless.  Not only that, I never get a reaction for my work. The teacher takes the paper, grades it at home, and returns it with a grade.  This is not the type of writing I remember as a kid. When my mom read my comics, she would smile and laugh at the humor. She understood my passion and would stop everything she was doing to read them. Her reaction inspired me to do more.

Writing is thoughts transformed onto paper. I never took it beyond that. But for a small window in my life, writing was different. It made me laugh, it made me think, and it made me feel good about doing something real. Writing is a tool for getting whatever thoughts you want out into the world. Yes, writing delivers information, but as an open sandbox, the creator is able to build anything they want.  It is unfortunate that my passion for writing ceased with the introduction of English class. I still have the Super-pencil comic books; every single one of them lies in my drawer at home.  I never threw them away, and every once in awhile, I’ll open my drawer and read them. The joy I got from my childhood ignites in me for a few brief moments. To tell the truth, I actually miss writing. Who knows? Maybe I’ll start again.