Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sharp Pencils

I love new notebooks and sharp pencils. They are so fun to use and write with. A sharp pencil is so important when you want to write your best. Which is sort of an interesting thought ~ be sharp, be your best.

My good friend Jessica had the most beautiful writing. I was always a little bit jealous! I wanted to have writing just like hers.

One of the things Jessica always used was a newly sharpened pencil. She was at the sharpener a lot! But the results were impressive. Her schoolwork, even the notes we passed, were like art.

Now I think I should admit a few things. First, I was not a part of Jessica's "sharpened pencil" club. I was more comfortable with a tip that was a little worn down. And all my life I had compliments on my handwriting. I knew it looked pretty good. I could have been pretty happy with myself.

But something just bugged me about Jessica's writing. Not so much that she was better than me, but that just maybe I could be better.

That maybe Jessica knew something that gave her the edge.

So one day I tried it. I sharpened my pencil. I mean really sharpened it. Guess what happened? My pretty good writing became lovely too. Suddenly that sharp point in my hand gave me confidence and pride like I'd mever felt before. My writing was elegant ~ yay! What a feeling!!

But some time went by and I found that I was back to just pretty good. Argh! Why? How did this happen? I had sharpened and things were great. For a while. I thought that having known what it's like to write with a pencil that was really sharp, I'd just adjust and still be great when the point wore down. But what had I done wrong?

Then I understood.

My trip to the sharpener was a one-time event, but it needed to be a regular one!

I realized that Jessica's writing was always lovely because she made her trips to the sharpener often.

I have to say that my decline to "pretty good" again wasn't instant. It happened slowly and so I really didn't notice right away the effects that the dullness of my pencil was having. After all, my writing had always been pretty good. I could have been satisfied with what I had. But Jessica's writing was still beautiful and now I had tasted that, too. And I wanted it all back.

So I made the trip back to the sharpener, and I sharpened my pencil.

It's been a long time since I started sharpening my pencil regularly. Admittedly, I'm not always vigilent/diligent enough and my pencil gets a little dull. But I'm getting better at paying attention to the point of my pencil, and I do make more regular and frequent trips to the sharpener. My writing? It's better, but not in the way I thought I wanted it to be better back when I was in classes with Jessica. It seems that my sharpening has given me writing I would/could not have anticipated.

The other thing I remember about Jessica's writing was how neat and clean her papers looked, even when I know she'd made mistakes and had to make corrections and revisions.

Jessica was a good eraser! I know that might sound silly ~ to compliment someone on their erasing skills ~ but you would have too if you'd seen the crisp, neatness of Jessica's work.

Notice I didn't say perfection.

Perfect would have meant never making any mistakes.

Jessica's papers I think were even more attractive because of the effort she made in erasing her mistakes. To the point that usually you'd never know she'd made them. Jessica put the same amount of effort into erasing that she did in getting to the sharpener regularly.

I continue to learn lessons as I strive to keep my pencil sharp.

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