Tag Archives: pencil

In praise of the pencil

Pencil1As we accelerate towards 2015, with its promise of smaller computers, bigger phones and hover boards, it’s easy to overlook some of life’s simple – but wonderful – technologies. Like the humble pencil.

I love pencils. Seriously, I have a whole drawer of them. I want you to love pencils too. Here are five wonderful things you can do with a pencil that you can’t do with something electronic.

  1. You can hand-write something. Isn’t that lovely? It must be so easy to go for months without hand writing – we don’t even need to sign stuff these days, what with PINs and e-signatures. It’s like going back to the Dark Ages – we’ll all be signing with a shaky cross before long. Use it or lose it!
  2. You can emphasise and whisper. The graphite in your pencil responds to the force of your fingers. Want to make a point? Underline hard! [Ed – I realise the bold and underline functions in Word help with this too, but doing it with a pencil is so much more natural – it’s a direct extension of your feeling, coming out through the force of movement. And it feels way better than hitting ‘ctrl-b’.]
  3. You can enjoy the music of the sweep of your pencil across the page. Every pencil sounds different – this one sings in a high, husky voice. [Ed – I wrote this with a pencil, in case that’s not clear.] It’s such a peaceful sound, and one you don’t get with a pen.
  4. You can erase your mistakes. Isn’t that great? When did we give up and decide it’s acceptable to cross through our messy scrawl in pen? Our teachers would be ashamed! [Ed – actually you can do this with a computer, but it’s not as fun and it doesn’t leave behind a slightly visible legacy of previous ideas. You can’t do it with a pen though. Not unless you have one of those pens with an eraser pen on the other end, which only work for about five seconds.]
  5. You can sharpen a pencil, and that feeling you get when you write with a freshly-sharpened pencil cannot be beaten. Sharpening pencils is also wonderfully relaxing – if I need a break to unwind and de-stress, I sometimes sit back with a cuppa and a sharpener and attack my pencil drawer. (I know, I know.)

So there you have it. Pencils are great. There are loads of other reasons they’re better than computers and pens. Perhaps one of my favourites is that my pencil collection holds some great memories – I buy a pencil at every museum I visit. Sadly I couldn’t find one at a place I visited last week.

What do you think is the best thing about writing with a pencil? Let’s remember their value and protect them from extinction (in the writing world at least)!