In Praise of the Pencil

I don’t consider myself a Luddite—at least not when it comes to writing. I publish e-books and use lots of online tools for marketing, distribution, etc. I love the writing software, Scrivener, and own both Adobe and Affinity design software for creating my print books and marketing material. I  don’t know how I would manage without all the tech I use for writing.

But I love pencils. 

There is something about the tactile sensation of a good, sharp, Number 2 pencil that unlocks my creativity. I love the way a pencil moves over the paper—with enough resistance you feel the shape of every letter. I love how the line thickness is responsive to pressure and direction. I love the warmth of wood beneath my fingers. Writing with a pencil is like caressing words into being.

I appreciate the erasability of pencil. I admire the elegance of letters formed in pencil. The sound of a pencil rasping across the page is soothing to me. I appreciate being able to write upside down, in the rain, and on multiple surfaces with a pencil. I love the fact that much of a pencil is actually used up in its use, and most of it is biodegradable. I love that a pencil can sit in a drawer for 50 years and still be perfectly functional.

I enjoy the contemplative nature of sharpening a pencil to the perfect point. The gentle grey of graphite on the page is easy on the eyes. Pencils require no electricity and can be carried anywhere.

I’m picky about my pencils—I can’t stand the not-proper-graphite, reconstituted-wood pencils. Real wood and soft flaky graphite are a must. Otherwise, the proper pencil mood doesn’t materialise. With a good pencil, dragons become real, magic portals open, and there’s a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.

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