Friday, November 19, 2010

Pen and Paper

I found a super cool new writing tool today. It's a liquid graphite pencil. It acts like a pen - the graphite flows from its tip smooth, silky, very much like ink. But the results can be erased because it's graphite. I love it. No more broken lead. No more pencil sharpening.

I've got a fetish for writing tools. Pens of all sorts liter my desk drawers, special little oak boxes, my purse, a giant coffee mug that I use as a pen holder... I'm always in search of the next best pen. Or pencil.

My fetish for pens almost rivals my love of paper. One of my earliest childhood memories is of visiting a print shop that my father worked at. The smell of paper and ink has sunk firmly and indelibly in my mind. Whenever I smell those together, I'm five years old again in that print shop, sniffing deeply the stuff that books are made of. My love of books probably started then (although my love of stories started much earlier).

One of my favorite little notebooks was a gift from a dear friend. It's a recycled book cover, its faded blue cloth embossed in gold with the title "Book of Etiquette" and a border of flowers and leaves. The innards have been replaced with blank pages which I can remove and replace thanks to a three-ring binder-type holder. My paper stash doesn't stop there, however. Journals, notebooks, stationary, loose-leaf papers of various colors and weights, scrapbooking papers and even sample books from a paper distributor fill my office. The sample books are pretty cool - little slips of paper in luscious weights, textures and colors, even velum and foils are tucked into these books. I could get goosebumps just thinking about them...

Funny, though, for someone so in love with pens and paper, I can't write my novel using them. Much as I'd love to scribble words in a pretty journal or a college-ruled notebook, they only flow from my mind to the keyboard. So in the end, there's no real art involved, no sensual feel of a pen flowing across the page, no real idea, actually, of what a page is. There's only word count when it comes to the screen.

I suppose it only matters that I write, not how or with what tools. I still squirrel away my pretty papers and fancy pens, but my workhorse is my computer.

Even so, I'm really excited about my nifty new liquid graphite pencil. Maybe I'll try writing a scene tonight, longhand, just for a change of scenery. It might be what this NaNoWriMo-frizzled brain needs... the serenity of a creamy white blank page and the sensual feel of liquid graphite flowing across it.


  1. Susan, I'm so pleased to find another "ink and paper smell" addict. (g) I adore those smells. And I often find the only way I can make my way into a difficult scene is to walk away from the computer, pick up pen and paper and work into the scene in the old fashioned way. Works every time.

  2. I can't stop buying journals. Leather ones, velour ones, flowery ones....

  3. Oh my yes, there's nothing more exciting than paper and pens. My sister and I even have nickname for that sort of stuff - nekechuk. What do you want for Christmas, she'll ask. I could use some more nekechuks, I reply.
    A graphite pencil! I must try this invention. Though I fear my left handedness might lead to more smudges on the paper.
    I get quirky with new notebooks. The one I was using before the one I posted the photo of on the blog - I started writing in it from the back at first, as I was sure my words wouldn't live up to all those lovely blank sheets, in between their gorgeous cloth bound covers. Only got in from the front once I started writing - ahem - a certain HP scene in a tent...