ultra fine point & personal data sheet


even in a room filled with familiar faces, ice-breaking moments feel strange.

and this pen is loud.

my writing has become our ambient noise, only subtly and infrequently punctuated by an occasional throat-clearing or the frictional squeak of chair legs rubbing the floor in posture adjustments or the splish-glug-splash of my neighbor taking a swig of her half-consumed beverage. smells like chai. i quick-search my purse and three bags [productive library visit – three is not typical] for a ball point, but no dice. and so, hyper-aware and mildly irritated, i resolve to respond as concisely as possible.

in filling in the first two blanks, i realize that my hand feels as though it is operating sans thought. autopilot-ing. as if a lifetime of filling out forms and applications, addressing envelopes, labeling so many things has trained my fingers to generate both ‘brianne radke’ and ‘racine, wi’ fluidly and independent of my mind’s participation.

the other lines feel much more intentional, purposeful. i am only beginning to realize that my dreams have become real possibilities. penning ‘tenure-track’ feels stretchy. will that even be a thing when i am done?

gosh, this pen is loud.

i’m reminded of the roots show in milwaukee during the summer of ’99 and especially of the petite and über sassy young woman in the plaid skirt and platform mary janes – the one who interrupted the ‘you got me’ vibe with a shoulder tap to inform me that i was ‘too tall to stand in the front.’ this random could never know that she forever shifted the way i occupy space at a show, even choose a seat in a classroom or meeting. she made me differently aware of my presence in any room. i suppose i had previously been aware enough to stand in the back row of a group shot or in a choral group. but that was the first time i considered my height as inconveniencing anyone. prior to that, it had been a helpful feature – a catalyst for a better view, a better reach. why, 17 years later, am i thinking about this lady while sitting in class on the first day of wrtg 503? why do i care about the abnormally loud scratching of my pen on paper in a room of colleagues and friends?

wonder if anyone else even noticed.


this …

and that …


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