I thought long and hard about participating in this year’s National Novel Writing Month. I have done one every year since 2008, under an old username, in the middle of the third term during the library tech program. It’s a way to get rid of the critical voice and do the first draft. If I trace back everything I currently do from the stand up to this blog, it’s this November madness. Lately, I felt shades of grey infiltrate my thinking. Maybe I shouldn’t do it? I don’t know if I have an idea in me. Now I have an idea in me.
A funny, seemingly-unrelated thing happened to restart my creativity-I embraced the pencil again. I found this Blackwing pencil sharpener in a shop called Tiny Feast. For office supply addicts like me, the potential for dangerous overspending doesn’t look like one at all. I walked through the tiny place looking at cards, journals, fountain pens, and different kinds of pencils. I already bought a box of Blackwing pearl pencils, white ones with the type of lead that’s good for writing, at McNally Robinson Booksellers (dangerous place number two!). I started using a traditional pencil sharpener, but Tiny Feast had this one:
The sharpener has two holes, one to take the wood off the graphite and the other to shapen the lead itself. How serious are these things? Palomino, the company making the Blackwing pencils and sharpeners, have instructions. Yes, instructions. Geeky instructions aside, writing in pencil reminded me of scribbling stories in notebooks, whole novellas and short stories, written for me and maybe a few of my friends. It’s weird nearly hitting midlife and starting to use these tools again. Maybe I want to recapture the joy of just telling a story, the same kind of joy I remember during my middle-school years. I want that joy back.