As the owner of a pencil shop, I often feel a great amount of responsibility to respect pencils and stationery as much as I possibly can. You know, I have to set a good example for all of my analog tools using acquaintances. I'm often asked for advice about how to find things, how to use them efficiently and carefully and also about this whole thing we call the 'analog lifestyle'. This is very much something I am committed to, but not without a few mishaps every now and then.
Especially when it comes to pencils, it's often assumed that I not only own an enormous quantity of them but that my home is also something of a pencil museum. This is something that I can't admit is true, though I do have different places in my apartment where my pencils go. The nice pencil cup on the living room mantle for the most prized pencils, the two in my desk for the pencils I'm using, the one on my entry table to catch all of the random ones I find in bags and coats, the drawer for the back stock of full boxes/multiples and the hidden box of the valuable vintages--there's a designated spot for pencils of a certain type in almost every room.
Though I have certain pencils I adore and will never ever sharpen, the truth is, I don't have as many as one might think because the vast majority of them are subject to being sharpened eventually and likely lost. That said, I am a little bit ashamed to admit that last year I didn't finish a single pencil in my personal, non-work-related pencil life. Not a single one. It's not that I didn't get close, they just somehow disappeared (many of which I think fell out of my ponytail) or I accidentally put them back in a pencil cup without stopping to consider that I should probably finish it before moving on. I am a chronic pencil-loser. Don't worry--I've never lost an original Blackwing 602 but many a beloved vintage have vanished from my sight, especially NoBlots, which I take on the go for letter writing on a regular basis.
I've tried Kondo-ing my life in the past with some success, but it seems I just can't figure out how to not lost things. Just last week, I lost a precious piece of jewelry in the washing machine (recovered) and found the original copy of a driver's license I must've replaced sometime last February. For a meticulously organized, generally tidy person, this is very frustrating. There's a documentary on Netflix right now called Minimalism: a Documentary About the Important Things which gave me hope that I am not only capable of minimizing the stuff in my life but that I can also keep track of the things I possess a bit more. I don't have to feel guilty if I really want to own 300 books or 2000 pencils. The thing is, though, I don't know that I want to own 2000 pencils. One thing that I love most about them is how ephemeral they are. I want to make them disappear by writing words to the people I love or via stupid demonstrative doodles on restaurant napkins. When I'm left with a little stub of a pencil, I feel satisfied because it'd been well used and well loved and also a little relieved that I still get to keep the tiny stump as a souvenir.
Many of my pencil friends online seem to have made the resolution in 2017 to use more stationery than they buy, but I'm trying to take it a little bit further: not LOSING any of my stationery and not buying any at all. I'm trying to learn how to keep an eye out for the things I'm carrying around on a daily basis and to actually use them to completion or to their full potential. That is, with the exception of the occasional themed card, if appropriate. Or if I run out of staples and/or paperclips, which isn't likely to happen. The one thing I certainly know I won't run out of is pencils, but be assured that if you receive a letter from me on really strange paper, it's because I'm sticking to my promise.
Photo: every pencil I've used/am in the process of using in 2017 so far.