Pencil Revolution

I would like to highlight one of the links over there on our sidebar. When we were setting up this blog and discussing the kinds of sites we wanted to post links to, Pencil Revolution was at the top of my list of sites to promote. They’re a little geeky, a little obsessive, maybe even a little crazy, but I’ve got to tell you, they are my kind of crazy.

I am, unquestionably, a victim/perpetrator of what the folks at PR amusingly call “˜Inkish Tyranny’, as the multiple bristling pen cups on all my desks will attest. Pens are a sort of fetish item for me; I acquire them compulsively. The Levenger catalogue? Practically pornography in my house. I keep pencils around mostly for working crosswords and sudoku, and because 13 years of American public school left me with a phobia of being caught without a trusty ol’ no. 2. (You never know when they might spring a bubble-sheet test on you!)

But the Pencil Revolution is destabilizing my loyalty to ink. I stumbled upon the site a couple of months ago while searching for drylighters, and was tickled by this nest of people discussing and dissecting pencils the way other people do wines. There’s something off-kilter, sort of gently mad, about using the very latest in communications technology to discuss the, uh, nearly-earliest in communications technology. Despite my inkish allegiances, I recognized them as kindred spirits at once.

Pencils will never replace pens in my affections, but thanks to Pencil Revolution, I have a new appreciation of them. Once upon a time, all I wanted from a pencil was sharpness and eraseability; now I’m learning to demand more of the pencils I use. I’ve never lusted after pencils the way I do pens, but lately, as I read comments about balance, intensity, fragrance, and grip, I think about writing down the name of the pencil, so I can look for it the next time I’m at the office supplies store. I’ve started looking at the pencils I already own, looking for the “˜personality’ behind the tools I’ve taken for granted for so long. I’ve even signed up for the Pencils of the Month club, so I can try out some of the pencils they’re writing about.

There’s something profoundly comforting about Pencil Revolution; the world can’t possibly be in as bad a shape as it seems to be, as long as there are people who can care so passionately about something so simple. My own good standing in the Inkish Party aside, the Pencil Revolution is a natural ally to the Bookish Dark””after all, for us to read, someone must first write””and at least a few of them are writing in delicious, velvety lead.

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7 Responses to Pencil Revolution

  1. CountessZ says:

    Ah, the Levinger catalog (drop another dime in the jar, Kai), it has long been a source of untold pleasures for me. As a graduation present from college, my mother gave me an editors desk from them with my initials carved into it. It is one of my most cherished possesions.

    I hadn’t realized you’d signed up for the pencil of the month club! That’s great. Perhaps you’ll have to share with us when you find one you particularly love?

  2. kaizerin says:

    Of course I signed up for the PotM Club–I couldn’t resist! I’m a nerd at every level of technology: high tech, low tech…no tech… 🙂

    What’s great is, since the payment is already processed and done with, it’ll just seem like some nice person out there is sending me little pencil care packages each month, like an office-supplies Secret Santa. I’ll be sure to let you know of any pencils that capture my fancy, you betcha.

  3. Thank you very very much for your kind words. 🙂
    We’re happy to see that the Revolution is spreading and changing people’s minds about pencils.

  4. kaizerin says:

    W00t! My first pack of pencils arrived yesterday. There were two good-quality regular pencils, a fancy, cinnamon-scented “Smencil”, and a really cool pencil sharpener in a very Kaizerin pinky-red hypercolor (like those nail polishes that change color depending on how the light strikes them, you know?) The pencils are pretty nice, but I don’t know enough about the subject yet to say whether they’re outstanding. But the sharpener is tres cool. I’munna hafta get me more o’ them.

  5. Ramona the Snitch says:

    When Kai was a little (school) girl, she had a daddy who bought her beau ceau(?) (boo coo) packages of pencils; colored pencils, Saratoga #2 pencils, Venus Naturals No 2 by FaberCastell pencils, every August before the start of the school year. … More pencils than a kid needed for 8 years of school! No wonder she is a little obsessed about wood and graphite. She probably even had pencils with her name embossed on them.
    Contrast that to the previous generation when her poor ole’ mammy had two (count them, 2) pencils to last the entire school year. Did that make any difference in the pencil obsession game? Not. Mommie is also taken by all forms of styli. Perhaps it is genetic?

  6. kaizerin says:

    And every year, when the seasonal aisles of Target and the grocery store are given over to the Back to School theme, I still love to go through the aisles and look at all the stuff. It’s only through sheer willpower that I don’t go home with a new backpack stuffed full of pencils and notebooks.

    I suppose that’s why fall still means “new beginnings” to me, huh?

  7. kaizerin says:

    PS: Ramona–So really, after you’d used one of your pencils to fight off the bears as you walked uphill both ways in the snow, you had to make do with ONE pencil all year?! Tragic! 😉

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