Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Sharpened Pencil

Last Christmas, my sister gave me a Vera Bradley box set of Pencils and two matching journals. That, along with another Journal and a photo my son took of "Wilson's Garage,"  (a special Great Gatsby-ism we share) were two of the best gifts ever. 

Simple there were. But they gave full inspiration for my very creative mind and voice.  

I use the Vera Bradley Pencils selectively. I use them to write in my journals. I chose one to write down notes and blocking for the recent play I was in. I keep one with my knitting bag for notes and comments. They are mine and those not in use yet are kept in the box. I also use them to write blogs and ideas and copy down quotes that inspire or touch me somehow. A good sharp pencil unlocks my imagination like nothing else.

And I like a very sharp pencil. I have a sharpener (it's Pink - surprise!) and find a sense of calm as I sharpen these #2 pencils to a "you can poke your eye out" tip. Pencil sharpening is truly therapeutic. But it isn't some electric sharpener I use. Not a chance. I have an old fashioned one. Did you realize that if you listen closely you can actually hear the moment that perfect point is achieved. And you can feel it in the crank. The resistance disappaits. It is a spiritual and tactile experience. And seriously, who wants to write with a dull pencil? Dull pencil ... dull mind ... dull ideas.

So my super sharp pencils and I unlock images in the depth of my mind. Then I type them into "the Corner" blog. 

What is it about a pencil and a clean piece of paper that opens my mind to crafting thoughts and words? 

First, it's real. It's not virtual. Once I write something it stays written. It doesn't disappear when my computer hard drive decides for no good reason to delete the operating system and erase everything stored inside. (Personally experienced that one a week ago.) I have various completed journals and numerous started ones in my desk and near my chair. Once something is written there, the thought, concern, stress, issue, idea, image and concept is neatly removed from my mind and logged permanently between the lines.

For those of you Harry Potter fans, it's my version of Dumbledore's Pensieve. Once something goes there, I can revisit it if I choose or be rid of it. In the cases of some personal drama or perceived crisis, it's very nice to divest myself of something. Freeing. And in those cases, once written I don't look back or read. No judgement. Just letting go of something that disrupts my spirit, mind, soul, heart, life, growth ... well, whatever.

Secondly, I can choose to review it. There are time when I feel more drama in my life. At those times, I write A LOT in my journals. When I review them, they read like a teenager's diary. I find humor at myself. I learn from my observations but am a step away from the "stuff." But at the time, writing my ideas with that pokey pencil was therapeutic.  And it got me through the challenging times and back into the light.

Thirdly, my mind works in images. I see pictures. I see words. I see thoughts. Where else do I write these? Sometimes words dance around in my mind -- insistent little things or giant things. If I put them on paper, they stop distracting me. It may not be a completed thought yet. But I might find a day where a turn of a phrase actually leads into a full story or book. A poem. A play. A pokey pencil is the best tool ever to transcribing the movies in my mind in a logical way. 

Fourthly, not everyone appreciates the joy a pokey pencil can give since not everyone enjoys writing. For some, status updates or diatribes on Facebook/Twitter are sufficient. Their phone or computer expresses their thoughts. I find that way of communicating my ideas too limiting. That venue lacks the control of the eraser found on good #2 pencils. Sometimes, I need the option of destroying an idea or a thought. I've actually torn pages out of journals and ripped them to shreds.  Get a thought out of my mind then get it gone. Can't do that with Facebook posts. Whether you delete your account or not, that "stuff" is still out there in the Cloud. (Whatever the heck and wherever the heck that is.)

Fifth, I need paper and pencil. I like the control it gives me and the option I have to read what I've written and decide where it goes. Sometimes I write for me. Sometimes I write to be written and get feedback. I like to write something that touches people or reaches someone. I like to know people read my stuff and like it. Yeah, sometimes I do it for the accolades. But most of the time, I write because I have something to say and I feel it needs to be said ... that others might just get a glimmer of something from the words and images I select.

Finally, a sharpened pencil is unlike that flashing cursor that awaits my words. Antagonizing me until I make it go away. A sharpened pencil is forgiving, erases, and creates words that stay exactly where I put them. They aren't read by prying eyes who access the Cloud or read stupid messages I might have texted or typed under an alcohol-induced or emotional haze. No, when I select that blank page in my journal, it has an option of being closed and put away and hidden from prying eyes. It's private until I decided whether or not to share it with a reader.

A sharpened pencil ... a journal ... a notebook. Simple they are. Mighty too. And two of my favorite things. 

By the way, I write actual letters too. But, for those I use with a .5 micro point blue uniball pen. Yeah, I'm a bit selective with what I use to express my words. Gotta have the right tools when I have something to say ...

It may touch you or roll on by you. And that's fine. Sometimes what I write is just for me. But if it touches you, that's cool too.
                                                                                                      -- Jenni