A Tribute To Pencils

I have been using mainly pencils and a graphite stick for drawing so far. As a novice just starting out, it is just so comforting to be able to erase errors and start all over again! The fear of spoiling a sheet of pristine white paper with an ugly drawing remains dreadfully near.

But our teacher has encouraged us to: “敢敢的劃!劃錯了再來過, 還可以改!” This means don’t be afraid of making mistakes, just draw and you can make corrections or try again. He understands our fear of paper.

So I am thankful for pencils.

I am reminded that Henry Thoreau, the author of one of my favourite books Walden, started out as a pencil maker and that he came from a family of pencil makers.

Ernest Hemingway actually wrote with a pencil – at least in his early years in Paris in the 1920s. He mentioned this in A Moveable Feast, another one of my favourite books. In a cafe where he wrote, he had even sharpened his pencil and left the shavings on the saucer of his cafe créme.

Ernest Hemingway seated in 1925 with the perso...

Ernest Hemingway in Paris in the 1920s.

It remains a mystery to me why Hemingway carried a notebook small enough to put in his pocket, yet carried a pencil long enough to write for hours. Wouldn’t it pierce through his pocket? And why on earth was he carrying a sharpener? Can you imagine Hemingway carrying a sharpener? It seems a little…juvenile…uncool. Maybe he used a pen-knife. Yes, I can imagine him carrying a pen-knife. That is much more sophisticated and more in keeping with my romantic ideas of Paris of that era.

These little mysteries keep me awake at night.

Ah! The wonders of a pencil.

One thought on “A Tribute To Pencils

  1. Pingback: Artist at Heart « Happily Ever After 7.10.11

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