“Do you have a pencil?” my Dad asked, as he prepared to hang a picture on the wall.
That shouldn’t be an unusual question. And it shouldn’t be difficult to gratify.
“…A normal pencil?” he added.
Ah, that’s where it gets tricky. As I am an artist, I have a wide array of pencils at my disposal. I gotcher wide lead colored pencils, I gotcher fine lead colored pencils. I gotcher erasable colored pencils, watercolor pencils, oil-based pencils, metallic pencils, charcoal pencils, soft lead graphite pencils, mechanical pencils…but normally, not a plain yellow shaft in sight.
I say normally, because—miracle of miracles—I had one writing pencil on my desk, for that very purpose. Which is, writing. I put it there about two months ago—before that, a plain pencil was a rare sight among my possessions.
I don’t especially know why—I’ve never had a pencil handy, except when I collected ones with pretty designs on them and had them proudly displayed on my desk. But those had never seen a sharpener.
A half hour later, my sister asked: “Do you have a piece of paper?”
I got paper. I gotcher Vellum Bristol board, I gotcher Smooth Bristol board, I gotcher card stock, black Artagain, blue paper, red paper, yellow paper, green paper, earth tone paper, illustration board, acid free blank note cards…envelopes…
“What are you laughing about?”
I was actually laughing about the irony of those two questions on the heels of each other—ironic, because in the past, a plain piece of paper on my desk was as rare an item as the pencil to write on it. I just always had art materials around, I guess—if it wasn’t acid-free, I didn’t want it near me, because I knew I’d be tempted to draw on it. And I’m a big one for archival longevity. Luckily for my sister’s sake, though, I did have plain paper on hand at the time. Four whole pieces of it. If I wasn’t selling my art on eBay, I wouldn’t even have that—they’re the remnants of packing slips I printed up.
I’ve been an artist all my days, and a writer for most of them, as well; but I’ve never had a plain piece of note paper and a pencil where I can get at them.
Did you say pens?
I’ve got pens. I gotcher acid free waterproof black ink pens, .20 millimeter, .25 millimeter, .35 millimeter, .45 millimeter, brush tip…I gotcher blue ink, silver ink, gold ink…