The Red Pen Treatment

Finding a red pen is harder than I thought.

I didn’t want a marker pen; I have one of those in my desk at work. I wanted a plain ballpoint pen filled with red ink. But although some use this stylus at work, we have none in stock.

I went to Wawa, but they had no red pens. They had no stationary whatsoever. Try writing anything down using the materials provided at Wawa: it’s a post-literate society. I could have approximated my desires using ketchup packets and coffee stirrers, but I felt I could do better than that.

My next stop was the Princeton “U-Store” which seems to be following Wawa’s lead. Unless you wanted pens in some variation of orange-and-black with “Princeton” written across each one, there were no pens, pencils, or paper at the U-Store. There were, however, a wide selection of thongs.

I returned to the office, defeated. Finding a red ballpoint would require a walk to Hinkson’s Stationary. The distance wasn’t a problem, but I had wasted enough time already.

Then officemate Jennifer A. came to my rescue. She had a capless red ballpoint Bic sitting unused in a cup on her desk. She offered it to me, and now I have it wrapped up in my pink transparent document envelope.

But why a red pen? I’ll show you why:

A marked-up page from a draft of The Marley Show

This is a page from the first completed draft of The Marley Show. Circa February 1997, Dean and I printed the play and attacked it with our red pens.

I am planning to do the same with a new short play.

This is the “Chanel Play” which I completed Thanksgiving afternoon. It will have four characters and be 45 minutes to an hour in duration. It will be funny, sick, and sexual.

But right now it’s only a first draft. It needs to be pierced with the red pen.

Somehow I don’t recall The Bill Show or I Am The Devil getting the red pen treatment. Especially after Jack, Wanda, and Ben I began writing and rewriting my work on the computer. Taking a look at my most recent work, Muggled was written as a text file, Unleash Your Inner Spader was written as a Microsoft Word document, and Wish Fulfillment was drafted entirely in a notebook, which I think is my current preferred method of writing.

The Chanel Play began as a text file, but two-thirds of the way through I switched to a notebook. Only now is the complete play in tactile form.

Thanks to the red pen I’m going back to my roots. I’m going to treat the Chanel Play like I treated The Marley Show. Let’s hope it’s for the best.

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