Monday, March 13, 2017

Give Pencil a Chance, Part II

I'm slowly making my way through "A Sudden Light," a story about trees, forests, and robber barons who made their wealth at the expense of trees, and there are passages about Teddy Roosevelt, the old bad word who fought to conserve the forests and natural habitats of the US while going on safari trips in Africa, the dirty, old two-faced bad word. And ghosts, a grandpa with dementia, secrets, men loving men, and logging, and a boy who discusses . . . And a boy who talks like no boy I ever knew or know. I think I'm sticking with it because it is a book about trees, and how trees have their own secret way of fighting back against humans bent on destroying them for wealth, and out of blatant ignorance that is simply another bad word. It comes from "to ignore." The book is about much more than that, but I take from it what I will, for reasons of my own. Each reader is allowed at least that. A tree might well ask of us, "What would the world be like without, without us?" What would be your response? Without taking time to think on it? I already know what I'd say. I'd say, "I don't want to know."

From mighty trees paper and pencils are born. Paper comes from cotton too. Last night, I caught a second repeat of a Sherlock Holmes episode in which part of the answer to a riddle has to do with paper, and the smartest person in the room said, "No!" Wait. No. That's from the movie with Clive Owen and Denzel Washington where the answer is "paper is no longer made from wood, but from cotton!" I think. No! No! No! It's money that's no longer made from paper, but from cotton! Thank you, Ambien. Sweet dreams are made of ye. And recently, I shared with you some of the logging industry's history in Jasper. Serendipitously, I read this, from A Sudden Light:  

"Timber is the most dangerous industry in the world, my father said. The statistics, even today, are staggering. The number of deaths . . . And in brutal ways, being crushed to death by a tree that twists wrong, or losing an arm and bleeding out, or getting hit by a widow-maker."

"What's that?"

"A dead limb that gets hung up in a tree. When you start to chop down a tree, it'll come loose. And they can be huge. . . "  

I also watched Robert Duvall in "Broken Trail, late last night," when he told his nephew, "Never use money to measure wealth." Isn't that what we do though? I Googled that gem to see if Duvall borrowed it from someone like Cicero, Larry McMurtry or some other wise Biblical-sounding soul, to discover it's a Duvall original. He told Oprah Winfrey in an interview once that had he not become an actor, he would have been a preacher. His second choice surprised me because he played one in a movie with Farrah Fawcett. I am pleased that he chose acting instead. 

So, that's a good part of what I've taken from A Sudden Light. I'm only one hundred and three pages in though, still and all I cannot imagine living in a home that has fifty rooms, owning a railroad and the land the rails are laid out on atop ties built from trees destroyed at my bidding. Who could be so greedy? Why must the rich be driven to amass more riches than even one person who might be richer? I hate it when people say someone is "richer than God." How disgusting. What a lie to attach admiration and pride to. 

Sorry. I only meant to write a little bit more about pencils and how rich and lovely they smell. Oh. And to tell you this:  I got a penciled letter! Today! 

JC put it on the kitchen counter like he'd decided to finally show his poker hand. "You got a letter written in pencil," he said. Those words addled my pate! The writing was clear, unblemished, legible . . . and so like a hand penned with gray ink. Pay dirt! Thank you, Susan. I wish everyone could see your return address. Pure poetry in pencil! Seriously. With a flourish too, girl. And the little birds trill from the thrill of being assigned the joyful mission of winging your letter to Texas. This is so righteous. 

This case of the pretties just keeps on gettin' prettier. I tasted grape first, then limeade, and ended with  an orange dreamscicle. Oh, to the yum, gimme-gimme-gimmie some! It's been warm enough here to warrant at least a limeade popscicle. Bryers, naturally. The ice cream truck has been through once already while some folk are still making ice cream from snow, huh? No matter. It too shall melt. Thank you, clever-clever Jean. 

There's a synchronization here. Don't you just like it when the back of an envelope is as charming as the front? And what's not to like about it bearing some good old Dear Abby-like advice? A letter is better. Indeed. For real. It seals the deal for me. I'm liking that washi tape, too, but that color? Umm-hmm! Thank you, Angela. 

Pencil by Pentel. Plays well with Moleskins. Eraser gets a B+ or better.

Pencil by Albert Elovitz:  Oh what a pencil! The eraser stinks.

I forget which pencil but this is only meant to show how a different pencil gives different results. Naturally a softer "lead" will make even a simple line look great. Think of the advantage varying line widths bring to any sketch, and you'll love going softer.

Don't you just love a smudge? I truly do not mind my fingerprints sticking all over a page, unless it's meant to be smudge-free. Such un-minded evidence becomes my "Kilroy was here" signature--good or bad.

Soft has a price tag though. A harder lead is better when you're going to lay down some color. Soft will ruin a light color Copic. And erasing will damage your paper. Goodbye sizing! But if you're too lazy to get out of bed to grab the right pencil, then it's all on you.

This is almost too good to be believed. Who knew the day would come when these two would have their day in the sun? It's Duly & Friend! Duly Noted and I first became acquainted back in 2015. He's way cool, huh? Pencils ruled even back then, and some limners really would work for paper, once upon a time. Damage done with a carpenter's pencil. *hard grin*

Done with "pencil" on an iPad. 

Done in marker mode, but I just like this little bird so much. Can't you tell I was still test driving? Making out in the middle of a bout with insomnia gives one time to improve almost any skill. Pencils with erasers are more forgiving; pencils without erasers make you more determined to get it right sooner. Erasing is a gift. You keep getting chances to make it better--be it a drawing, or a letter. 

You hug a tree every time you use a pencil. Timber--rr!


  1. all I can say lovely , just lovely . I don't think anyone can leave me speechless except for you ....LOL

    1. LOL. That's a loaded comment if ever there was one. But I know what you mean. Things can only get better. :)


  2. Speaking of the logging industry...I too lived in a small town that was built on logging and still carries it on today. Nothing breaks my heart more than seeing truck after truck of trees coming out of the forest in the spring. How many nests are destroyed and creatures great and small displaced?! Did you ever see the movie 'Sometimes a Great Notion'? based on the book by Ken Keasy about a small family run logging company in oregon. Paul Newman, Michael Sarazin, Joanne Woodward and Henry Fonda. Classic!!!
    To me a good pencil cannot be very sharp. it has to have that soft point on it for the best results...that lovely smudging too!

    1. My heart hears yours. And let us not forget all the creatures that live among the roots. Oh. I think you included them. My mistakes. Sometimes I'm still surprised by what calls a tree home. Planet Earth II has me so emotional day in and day out.

      No, I haven't seen the movie. I'll add it to my down time list. Thanks. I am a sucker for Joanne Woodward.

      I have a new pencil that is so hard and pointed it almost tears the paper. And what I write is barely legible. It's interesting. I'm good for any point that shows up and does what I need it to do when I need it to.

      Thanks for visiting!