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A few trains of thought about pencils. Hopefully this will purge them from my already scrambled brain.


Pencils or pens? I go through phases with each. At some points in my life, I’ve written only certain things with pens of certain colors, while other types of things had to be written in pencil, or black ink, or whatever. Yes, a bit compulsive. You wanna make something of it?


Mechanical or analog pencils? I actually like both, so long as they’re decent writing instruments. I like the Pilot Mini Mechanical Pencils for good performance and pocketability. But for many years, I was a mechanical-only gal. I think it was mostly because I did a math degree. Also, I’d had too many crap pencils where the leads always broke every time you sharpened them, or they were splintery, or were those nasty plasticky ones. The only problem with mechanical pencils is that they have a smaller eraser but I make no fewer errors. And I won’t put one of those silly dunce-cap eraser tips on my mechanical pencils. I mean seriously, how would that look in my pocket protector?


Like other professions, writers have superstitious beliefs about what tools they use in their craft. In Stephen King’s books, the writers all have their specific pens, papers, or pencils that they prefer. I think it was the Dark Half where the guy loved the Black Beauty pencils. I’ve never seen Black Beauty pencils, but maybe I’m only imagining them.

The best pencils ever. So pleasant to the touch!

I have at long last found the best pencils ever, at least in the analog category. I introduce to you the Dixon Tri-Conderoga! They are soft-edged triangular pencils with a satiny grippy finish in matte black, and according to the box, are treated with MicroBan. To prevent smelly pencils. I’m not sure I want to know the conditions under which smelly pencils would be an outcome.

The Tri-Conderogas are a nice size with a soft grip, and have a generous eraser. They are sleek in their satin matte black MicroBan finish. They hardly ever do that annoying thing where the lead breaks off as soon as you get it sharpened, over and over.

These pencils are the only ones I could imagine using to write a novel if I were trapped with a murderous nurse who broke my ankles to ensure that I couldn’t escape. Or if I were to write a novel in a rustic Adirondack camp without electricity. And also for every day use, of course.


I bought 6 packages of 12 of these pencils the other day. Amazon had them at an amazing price. The fact that I get excited about pencils is kinda depressing. But now I’m set for awesome pencils for quite awhile. And they gave me an easy, if vapid, blog post idea when I had none. Good enough. That’s all it has to be, right?


When I was in 3rd grade, I was horsing around with one of my classmates and had the misfortune of kicking at him, with just sandals on my feet, right as he feinted a stab with his newly-sharpened No. 2 pencil. Well, I’m sure you can picture how that could go wrong.

I still have a chunk of graphite under the skin on the top of my right foot. I guess you could say that it was my first tattoo.