Friday, October 16, 2009


I have just spent an unproductive five minutes reducing
what appeared to be a perfectly good, lightly used,
almost-full-length Staedtler 2B pencil to a broken stub in
a vain attempt to sharpen it. What is it with pencils these
days? Or is it just me? In my hands anyway the wretched
things just will not sharpen to a sustainable point. Time
and again the lead breaks or the wood splinters. I speak
now as one who has filled wastepaper bins to the brim
with pencil shavings and blackened his finger and thumb
with graphite in a positive rage of sharpening activity. It
may happen, on some sunny occasion, that I make my
point, as it were; yet hardly have I borne the pencil in
triumph to the paper and begun writing with it than the
point breaks off anyway. Either I have lost the plentiful
pencil-sharpening gifts that nature bestowed on me in
my youth or something’s up with the quality of the
modern pencil. Which could it be? Discuss.


Deborah said...

Definitely modern pencils. I have the same problem.

Mary McCallum said...

My Faber-Castell pencils are pretty good, and I think it helps to have a very sharp metal sharpener.

Anonymous said...

Are you all right?

Anonymous said...

And the matches these days, don't talk to me about the quality of the matches