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journalwriting  I remember as a young boy reading a book about a tot who had a purple crayon that acted like a magic wand. He used to it to draw words or things that transformed into living entities. This was exactly what I wanted out of life. I bought into the concept drawing = magic and I sought out my own. [1]  I first tried a purple crayon. I drew pictures and wrote words. Alas these endeavors didn’t leap off the page. I moved onto other colours but to no avail. [2] Doggedly I refused to connect the dots the magic of writing is metaphorical not literal. I moved onto pencils. Pencils had potential: they look more wand-like and they have an eraser giving me the security if I released any wild magic ala Mickey Mouse in ‘The sorcerer’s apprentice’ I could simply rub out my error. [3]

I still enjoy writing and drawing with pencils. Pencils are delightful. Let’s start with their smell. The smell of the cedar wood combined with the rubbery redolence of an eraser is quite sensual. The feel of pencil is unique with its hexagonal contour. There is no spell check or computer guidance using a pencil. All you have is your imagination and private thoughts.

Last week at poolside in Palm Springs I was doing paper puzzles using a newly sharpened #2 pencil while thems around me were on their iphones and ipads. One in our party pointed out “I could do that on line” as if I wasn’t aware of such and I would immediately see my primitive ways and toss away my pencils.  “No thank you” I replied, as I used it to scratch my ear (which another perk of a pencil).

Although I now write via a keyboard I keep a few sharpened pencils handy. It seems every day there are fewer opportunities to use one yet I won’t let them go. Every once in a while I like to put down the laptop and pull out a pencil and and try to conjure up some magic.


[1] This is called ‘magical thinking’; it is a tad ironic, yes?

[2] I had a close call using ‘Prussian Blue’. It was my favorite Crayola color. They don’t make it any more on the grounds kids these days haven’t a clue what is “Prussian”. Oh the pain.

[2] I never thought to try pens. Pens are permanent. My parents wrote with pens, and I never saw them produce anything magical or transformative using a pen. No magic there.

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March 2019

Spo-Reflections 2006-2018