Pencil ads (I).

These are some vintage pencil ads that Don P. sent us as a “blog-warming” gift last week. He tells me that he inherited them from his grandfather, along with a love of office supplies. Thanks, Don, for the images and the blog warm wishes.

New address and host.

Thanks to some great advice from A, we have found a new home at the current location. The remaining comments went by the wayside, but I think there’s a way around that. At any rate, GoDaddy is very sharp and is hearby an honorary Pencil Friend. So far, I’d definitely recommend them for your hosting and domain registration needs.

If I can find some old jingles from old pencil ads, we could have them uploaded to our host now. Does anyone know where to find those? I’ll get out my dancing shoes and cut a rug. No photos of that, though. Sorry.

Handwriting.


I’ve always noticed that my writing looks better in pencil than in pen. And I know I’m not alone in noticing this. Didn’t most of us, after all, learn to write using pencils?

The fact that my own writing looks better in pencil is probably from eight years of handwriting classes at Catholic school. I remember using some jumbo black pencils with thick lead to write with in the first grade. Our pencils had no erasers, and they were just…unpleasant to hold, let alone write with. And there was that thin newsprint-like writing paper that Sister Theresa Mary insisted we use, since it had huge lines to write on, with the centers being dotted lines — all in pale blue on puke-tan colored paper. It performed like compressed toilet paper and would instantly tear if you tried to erase anything you had written on it, especially since the eraser-free pencils required six year olds to attempt to wield something like a Pink Pearl to erase an accidentally-crossed L or some such. And no one wanted to deal with a nun who had a temper but was recently no longer allowed to spank us when they ripped a page. So we learned to write perfectly in pencil in fear of Sister Theresa Mary’s considerably loud yelling.

By the second grade, when we learned cursive writing, we were allowed to use whatever wooden #2 pencils we wanted to. I honestly can’t remember what brand I had, since my mother would have provided me with ample pencils that I would never have even seen in the box (probably G.I. Joe pencils or something like that). But I remember that we all had to learn to write perfectly and uniformly and according to those charts and the perfectly scripted two-feet-high letters our teacher put on the chalkboard. I remember that my handwriting went downhill in the third or fourth grade (don’t remember which) when we were allowed to use the shoddy mechanical pencils available in the 80s. And I remember that it went further downhill in the fifth grade when we were allowed to use ballpoint pens.

I kept up with my handwriting a little, however, since our sadistic (don’t ask) principal in middle school required even all middle schoolers to take handwriting lessons when she felt that the school’s penmanship was being neglected. These lessons, of course, required yellow #2 pencils and pink erasers.

While no longer in fear of ill-tempered nuns (the only two mean ones I ever had taught me to write), my handwriting still looks best and most uniform in pencil. Whenever I ditch the gel pens and the markers and the keyboard, my own natural penmanship comes out in wooden pencil, freely and fearlessly. Or is it just Charlie and I?

Why pencils? (I)


Why use pencils?

So many of us are pencil people below the pressure to use pens. “Pencils are for kids,” we’re told. “At least use a mechanical pencil,” we are urged. You can erase them, so you shouldn’t use them, right?

The first and best reason to use pencils is because you like them and enjoy writing/drawing with them. Because you feel better connected to the paper you’re writing on (or the wall, etc.) and the earth from which the clay, the graphite and the wood all came. Because they smell good. Because sharpening them can be a sort of meditative process. Because you can chew on them. Or for reasons we can’t explain.

The point is that it’s best to write with what we like best, no? I’ll admit to enjoying taking notes and writing papers and poems with pencils better than pens. That’s the biggest reason that I use pencils at all.

But there are many others, and they will be seen here soon and regularly.

Hemingway on pencils (I).


“When you start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none. So you might as well use a typewriter because it is much easier and you enjoy it that much more. After you learn to write your whole object is to convey everything, every sensation, sight, feeling, place and emotion to the reader. To do this you have to work over what you write. If you write with a pencil you get three different sights at it to see if the reader is getting what you want him to. First when you read it over; then when it is typed you get another chance to improve it, and again in the proof. Writing it first in pencil gives you one-third more chance to improve it. That is .333 which is a damned good average for a hitter. It also keeps it fluid longer so that you can better it easier.”
Hemingway on Writing, pg. 51 (exerted from By-Line: Ernest Hemingway, pg. 216).

First post.

Stay tuned for news of the Pencil Revolution. The PRevo.
Including pencil reviews, pencil stories, history, benefits, advantages, etc.
On why you should be using a pencil.
Or pencils.
And not the mechanical kind.
Sharpen your pencils, and get ready.