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.