There’s something extremely organic about writing in pencil.
A real No. 2 pencil with an eraser feels innocent, legit and comforting. Writing with these pencils brings back warm memories and reminders of elementary school: the smells of crayons, paint, books and pencil shavings; the lighting; the vibrant, bright colors splashed all over the white brick; the buzz of excitement from hundreds of children, all there for the common purpose to have their minds shaped by their teachers—when learning was exciting, new, and not a chore or a hard life-lesson. You wanted to be there. School was fun, your friends were there and you wanted to learn.
That’s how I felt anyway.
Something about writing in pencil makes me feel like a legit writer for some reason as well. It’s an interesting concept of being catapulted forward into what I’m meant to be—my calling, my passion—yet it cements me back into my childhood, into my carefree happiness when “making an A” was so easy. You got rewarded for answering simple questions, or for just trying your best. A main concern was whether or not you would go outside for recess that day, or be stuck inside watching a movie because of the weather.
Then, suddenly, you realize you’re no longer a child, but an adult.
You’re thrust into reality where most of the time, at least for me lately, your best still is never quite good enough.
Now, instead of worrying about recess, you’re worrying about career paths or whether or not you’ll be able to afford paying rent, utilities and groceries that month. You start getting rejected by people over and over again after every job interview and in this economy, the job possibilities seem to abruptly stop coming in.
Then come the questions. Is it me? Is it my self-worth? What did I do wrong? Am I cut out for this? Am I making a mistake? Why do I never seem good enough for any position? Is it a character flaw? How am I supposed to get experience when nobody will hire me in the first place? Why won’t anybody give me a chance?
Why did we stop using pencils?
Why can’t writing with No. 2 pencils be the “norm” and be thought of as professional with important matters and documents?
Maybe it’s because, with a pencil, you can always erase your mistakes, start over, and others will be none-the-wiser.
Maybe that’s why we’re forced to use pen later on in our school careers—to prepare us for “real life,” because in “real life” you can’t just simply erase your mistakes.
They’re permanently there for all to see.
Even white-out still shows the sign of a mistake made, though it’s easier to mask what that mistake actually entailed.
However, everyone is still aware it’s there—especially you, because you know what lies beneath that fresh, pure, clean white line—the line which tries to be inconspicuous and blend in with the rest of the paper, but it is never quite the same color.
Pens taught us to learn from our mistakes and to be constantly reminded of what we did; to study it, to analyze it and work toward acceptance—acceptance from ourselves and acceptance from others. They teach us not to be too proud to admit we were wrong.
Even computers and typewriters are not fool-proof. With typewriters, when you crumple up the paper to throw it in the garbage can, the evidence is still there and you have to start over from the beginning.
At least you have that option of a clean slate.
Whether our past is saved by cookies on the internet, our documents in our hard drive or in the trash bin, it’s still there.
Even spell-check on Word documents allows us to appear perfect. It allows us to rely on something or someone else to catch our mistakes and sometimes automatically correct them.
Our mistakes are corrected before we are even aware we are making the same mistake over, and over, and over again.
I love pencils—for the sentimental value and the ease of being able to erase your past in a few flicks of your wrist.
However, maybe some people should begin using pens from the very beginning—to learn how it’s okay to be vulnerable and to make mistakes, to feel at ease admitting they were wrong and to not be able to hide from their flaws and imperfections and be secretive.
Being honest and true and out in the open.
To be naked.