People ask how I know when to stop scribbling and decide a work is finished. I say you have to go too far and destroy it, because then you know when you should have stopped and can go back. If you don’t, you leave untold riches out there.
– Iain McCaig, Concept Artist, Star Wars: Episode I
I wasn’t even into pencils. I didn’t know a Blackwing Pearl from a Golden Bear, or an HB from R2D2.
But I received a free pencil with an order after finally succumbing to Field Notes. Same with the purchase of notebooks from Write Notepads & Co. And then I ordered the Write Notepads Jumbo pencils because they looked like fun. Then I bought a sample pack from Pencils.com, which included the infamous Blackwing 602. And then, of course, I had to have the Classroom Friendly sharpener. All along I had been listening to the Erasable podcast, with their infectious obsession. I was hooked.
The problem, however, was how to carry these new treasures with me. Something needs to protect that freshly sharpened tip and prevent graphite from smearing the inside of a bag. I didn’t want to go to the trouble of ordering special caps and I didn’t need something as large as a pencil case.
How could I resist? One of the notebooks made by Write Notepads & Co. features an image of the U.S.S. Constellation. I purchased two of these and really like them. And then I bought some of their other designs.
The notebooks are made in Baltimore with all U.S.-sourced material. For every one sold, the company donates a notebook of a different type to a Baltimore school. There’s a code inside the notebook you buy that when entered on their website will show you which school benefited from your purchase. They sell a limited-edition Baltimore one, and have a series on the boroughs of New York.
These are fun, useful, sturdy notebooks. They are 8.5″ by 5.5″, with nicely letterpressed covers. They have 120 pages (60 leaves). There’s no nonsense here. They’re spiral notebooks the way they’re supposed to be made. They say simply, “Here, hon, have a notebook.” They’re charming.
Well, I’ll have to tell it you, then. Only I’m not very good at telling things. I mean if I write things, I get them perfectly clear, but if I talk, it always sounds the most frightful muddle; and that’s why I never discuss my plots with anyone. I’ve learnt not to, because if I do, they just look at me blankly and say ‘ — er — yes, but — I don’t see what happened — and surely that can’t possibly make a book.’
“I mean, what can you say about how you write books? What I mean is, first you’ve got to think of something, and when you’ve thought of it you’ve got to force yourself to sit down and write it. That’s all. It would have taken me just three minutes to explain that, and then the Talk would have been ended and everyone would have been very fed up. I can’t imagine why everybody is always so keen for authors to talk about writing. I should have thought it was an author’s business to write, not talk.”
— Mrs. Oliver, Dead Man’s Folly, by Agatha Christie