(Low) Tech Writer on the Pencil.


(Low) Tech Writer muses about our favorite writing implement.  This is a great post you should really read in its entirety (here).

“I have a mild obsession with pencils, especially the General Pencil Semi-Hex 498 2 2/4. Mmm, ceder. Some years ago, I needed a pencil to mark up a book I was reading for seminary, and went looking for one. I did not find one pencil. I found fourteen scattered through the house. I would have stopped at one, but my curiosity was piqued to see all the different brands and styles that we’d accumulated. I decided that I couldn’t just pick one at random, I would pick the best one. So I sharpened them all and put them to the test. Of course I had to smell each one before writing, just to take note of the “nose” (the winner had that powerful ceder aroma that true pencil aficionados prefer. I think.)….

….Low-tech wonders stand out when compared to their replacements, the products that are manufactured to improve and supplant them. I think of all the ergonomic mechanical pencils and gel-grip disposable pens, none of which impress me or replace my pencil. The pencil has a beautiful simplicity to it, and an efficiency, and 95 percent of it is compostable (versus the landfill that is the fate of plastic writing tools). And there is some mystery to the pencil too. How does rubber (named for it’s ability to “rub” pencil marks away) erase the marks of the graphite without causing it to smudge? It’s the original word processor, complete with backspace.”

Stay tuned for the Pencil Revolution review of General’s Semi-Hex pencils, which we’re hard at work testing and enjoying!

[Image, LTW.]

Trains, pens and planners on pencil sharpening.


Certainly, there are those of us who prefer pencils to pens and computers, in part, because of the joy of sharpening. My better half giggled last week when I confessed to the existence of my box of nearly forty pencil sharpeners in the closet in our daughter’s room (she’s only 5 months old and too little to find them yet) and when she noticed one in our bathroom I’d left there. But then I opened a box which contained several of her sharpeners, in shades of pink and red.  And I giggled a bit.

Trains, pens and planners presents us with a short piece on the simple joys of pencil sharpening:

“It was at this point I realised what a pleasure sharpening a pencil was. I had forgotten the physical feeling of turning the pencil, the noise, the swirl of shaved wood. Now this doesn’t mean I shall give up on mechanical pencils to start a pencil sharpening frenzy in my life. It does make me think a bit more about the simple things in life. The things that we don’t take time to think about or if we notice them don’t capture the feeling. It’s probably impossible to pay attention to the small things all the time but perhaps choosing a day to consciously notice the small things would be enriching, in a small way. I must try that.”

Read more.