field of multi-colored wildflowers

Gathering thoughts using old-fashioned tools

My hammer and chisel. Photo by me.

I am very excited. A few days ago my husband used his coupon at an office store to pick up two things I use daily: Japanese-type erasers and Ticonderoga pencils. I love these things! If I were more patient and classy I might use a fountain pen like Neil Gaiman…nahhhhh!

Pens are good for correspondence but pencils convert thoughts from fuzzy ideas into visible words I can rearrange, abbreviate, and recast. Graphite is the stuff of learning and questing – magic dust for writers.

Photo by on

Erasers can slow the writing process but the cleaned off space whispers, “Give it another go. Slow down, what are you trying to say?”

I need my pencil and paper. All my drafts are handwritten. I get writer’s block when I try to compose on a keyboard.

After I’ve transferred the written words through my stumbly fingers into the slightly unreliable computer, praying to the internet gods, there’s the satisfying crunch of ripping out and balling up the notebook paper containing the first draft and tossing it into the wastebasket.

ink drawing of a girl in a pinafore sitting and writing with a fountain pen on a desk
Illustrated by Harriet Roosevelt Richards in Cricket at the Seashore, 1896.

One kid and I have two small-kine goals: support the U.S. Post Office by writing letters and notes weekly, and support the quality pencil industry.

I am also boycotting everything made in China since learning about China’s totalitarian oppression of the Muslim Uyghurs. The erasers are from Taiwan (yippeee) and the pencils are made in Mexico. Are computers made in China? I would love a larger screen to speed up picture finding. 😦

Your Take

What’s your favorite tool for the thing you spend a lot of time on?

Featured photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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