I love pencils.
When I was a kid I used to really like mechanical pencils. Those were fun for a while but as I’ve grown up I’ve started to appreciate real, wooden pencils.
I love the way they feel, I love the way they smell, and I love the way they write.
All you have to do is stick a pencil into any pencil sharpener and in seconds you’ve got a work of art in your hands – a woodsy-smelling precision writing instrument. The simple act of sharpening a wood pencil gives me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Sometimes it makes me feel like a master carpenter, sitting there in my air-conditioned office whittling away at this little stick of wood to make something useful.
You can use a pencil to create works of art, literature, solve math equations…you can do pretty much anything with a pencil that your brain can’t handle on its own. You can do it all with a pen too of course, but when you do it with a pencil it just feels so good and so pure and so right.
The gentle friction of the graphite rubbing along the paper is a sensation that just can’t be reproduced by any other means. Press hard and you’ve got darker lines. Press lightly and you’ve got light lines. Hold the tip sideways and you’ll make shades of gray. Roll your thumb across the final product and the lines will blur away.
The greatest pencil ever made (allegedly) was Eberhard Faber’s Blackwing 602. It’s been out of production since 1998, but you can sometimes find them on eBay for about $20 *per pencil*. I love pencils but I can’t bring myself to spend that much to own something that I know I’d never want to use.
So all you kids with your fancy mechanicals and your erasable inks and whatnot, take it from an old timer. Wood is where its at. I know you’ve got some free time this weekend. Why not stop by Staples and get re-acquainted with an old friend?