I think that before I delve into the may areas I plan to talk about, I should attempt to describe what pencils mean to me.
I begun my education before there were classroom computers, and when the development of handwriting was of up most importance. In primary school development went hand in hand with the tools that a student was allowed to use. The progression was from crayon to pencil to pen. I recall it was the height of achievement to be given the right to use a pen. Students had to be able to spell and have neat cursive script to wield the all powerful plastic Bic. Needless to say, I wanted the pen. This was however not something that was easily won.
I was a nervous child, and I had no confidence to speak of. Everything upset and frightened me. Due to this I was usually the last student to progress. I would labor at my work trying my best to hide my books from my classmates and teachers. I had no ability to counter their criticism. I wanted to achieve but when I did not, I was devastated. My battle for the pen was one of pain and longing. Over time every other student got theirs before I did. When the teacher gave me mine, it was only because I was the last and I was embarrassed. It was not a victory.
I do not know if I am romanticizing the past but I think that I would have felt more comfort if I had just stayed with the pencil and was left to do my own thing. This pattern of fear related to education continued right through to my senior years. From this fear determination to succeed my own way was born. I became immune to my own fear over time, but I was and I am still, a very solitary individual.
Art was my happiness. My drawings were a sort of replacement for the social skill I lacked and saved me from feeling alone. The pencil was my strength. I drew in all my school books and illustrated my school bag and folders. I felt whole with my art. All this helped me cope with the looks I got from students and teachers. I was the weird art kid. I owned that title with pride.
So the pencil is not simply a mark making tool for me. It is an extension of my being. I connect to the world with its assistance. I am never without one, I even have at lest one next to me when I sleep. My friends and family think that my pencil collection is interesting and maybe quirky, but it is so much more. So what is the meaning of pencils? Food, water, air, shelter, love and a pencil. I need all these things to live.