Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Little Tail"

"Pencil, from the Latin penicillus, meaning 'little tail.' Little tail?
     Not everyone writes even occasionally with the old-fashioned yellow pencil with pink eraser top anymore. This astonishing fact came to my attention through a more newfangled way to communicate, the Facebook post. But the lowly pencil remains my writerly tool of choice. I use #2 lead, no doubt a holdover from my formative bubble-tests years. The lead isn't really lead, either, but rather graphite mixed with clay; I'm okay with that.
     I'm not exactly monogamous in my writing tool relationships. I write my novels (and everything else I write for publication, for that matter) primarily at a keyboard. When I journal I often use a pen, blue or black ink, I don't much care. But there is nothing like the freedom of a pencil as I'm taking the muck that is a first draft and trying to make something of it. Not quite right the first time? Erase and try again!"
— Meg Waite Clayton, Huffington Post

"Around 1560, an Italian couple named Simonio and Lyndiana Bernacotti made what are likely the first blueprints for the modern, wood-encased carpentry pencil. Their version was a flat, oval, more compact type of pencil. Their concept involved the hollowing out of a stick of juniper wood. Shortly thereafter, a superior technique was discovered: two wooden halves were carved, a graphite stick inserted, and the halves then glued together—essentially the same method in use to this day.[...]
     Vladimir Nabokov rewrote everything he had ever published, usually several times, by pencil. John Steinbeck was an obsessive pencil user and is said to have used as many as 60 a day. His novel East of Eden took more than 300 pencils to write."

No comments:

Post a Comment