You can lie to yourself. But the pencil will not lie. Some think of the pencil as a writing utensil; these people are partly correct. Ensconced in a hexagonal sleeve of wood, there does indeed lie a thin cylinder of graphite (“The Grey Ghost” of the geological realm; sturdy yet ephemeral) capable of being pulverized with the slightest pressure of the human hand into a dusty stain on paper. This is a fact. But the pencil is also a unit of measure. It measures our productivity.
Though I am not expert enough at math to devise a formula that would produce a precise measurement, the pencil’s productivity readings rely on a wood to rubber ratio. The more one writes, the more the wood shrinks. The more one erases, the more the rubber shrinks. Ideally, the wood and the rubber should dwindle to uselessness at the same rate. This does not always occur.
With its lengthy shaft of graphite and its utterly worn-out eraser, the pencil pictured above is no longer a writing utensil. It is a record of failure. Of writer’s blocks. Stops and starts. Creation consistently obliterated by negation.
I can see - with this pencil in my hand, I have made so many mistakes.
Three stars out of four.