When it comes to reviewing or talking about anything wood cased pencil I am a complete novice. This is actually quite odd if you consider the fact that I used wooden pencils through nearly a third of my life during childhood almost every day at school. How can I be so intimidated by something so simple?
The truth is, I really enjoy the idea of using wooden pencils: simple, cheap (compared to most pens), "eco-friendly-ish", and they usually smell awesome when you sharpen and use them. And, they take you back to a time in your life where you had wide ruled paper, wrote gobs of book reports, and took spelling tests. All good things...
There is a definite satisfaction that comes through the seemingly old fashioned idea of using pencils. Even just holding them takes us back not necessarily to specific memories, but they just feel right.
With the digital world consuming a lot of how people's thoughts are recorded out of "convenience", this is bad for even basic click pens, but imagine how this has to be for the wooden pencil!
Let me explain: To use a pencil not only do I have to carry around a seemingly fragile stick of wood but I also have to carry around an apparatus with a blade to actually make the stick usable. And then, to continue writing with it I have to keep sharpening the stick. And then, I have to find a place to dump the excess debris (shavings) to dispose of them. Within this context the pencil doesn't even stand a chance against the hardcore digi folks.
But, the truth remains that the pencil is living on and they are being made by probably the millions every year. We live in a digital age and yet we still produce tools to write with that could probably trace their lineage back to the cave drawings of the Paleolithic Era. Usually with "antiquated" products, they end up on Etsy or specialty shops for high premiums being styled after vintage or retro. Not the pencil. You can still buy a dozen pretty good pencils for less than $5. So, if you really want to get your retro on, pick up a pack and start sharpening.
I want to thank my friend Tim from The Writing Arsenal for sending me not one, but two care packages of pencils over the last year or so ranging in all different colors and brands. They all look so nice that I feel almost afraid to use them. They are like a little treasure waiting to be found and used. Also, he and the fellas from The Erasable Podcast made mention that it might be fun to hear me write about pencils, so, here we are. Thanks guys.
Being primarily a pen guy that is not used to erasing anything, I find that even if a pencil has an eraser, I don't use it. I will usually cross things out or simply disregard the mistake and move on. Hopefully this doesn't say something deep down about my personality...
With this practice, aesthetically I think I prefer pencils without an eraser at all. If a pencil has a really beautiful lacquer/paint job, the solid cap just looks stunning. I guess it could partially be that when you use an eraser it instantly makes the pencil look a bit dingy. Removing the eraser means removing the dinginess. The other thought is if I'm not going to use the eraser than why have one at all?
Even in writing my known likes/dislikes, why am I so intimidated by these things? Perhaps it is that I'm still finding out on a deeper level what things about pencils intrigue me? I'm not there yet, but I think I'm on my way.
This is probably enough rambling for now, but I am committed to digging deeper into the world of wooden pencils. I've even considered going an entire month as a bit of an experiment using only pencil (unless absolutely necessary...). I doubt I would survive, but would be fun. More pencil goodness to come over the next few weeks.