Sharpening pencils

You Know Which One I'm Talking About
You Know Which One I’m Talking About (Photo credit: Sharon Drummond)

Remember pencils? Not mechanical ones — wooden yellow #2 pencils. School pencils.

Remember sometimes in school you would start feeling restless, and you’d just want to get up and move around a little? It’s not that the lessons were boring (sometimes they were) or that your brain had shut off (a lot of times it had); it’s just that you were a kid, and your legs were getting jittery, and you needed to be out of your seat. Any reason that would work, any reason that would get you out of your desk without getting you into detention.

The bathroom was out — teachers were onto that game. The library was out — someone already had the hall pass. So what did we do? What did we ALL do?

“Miss? I need to sharpen my pencil.”

We didn’t need to sharpen our pencil. We just needed to blow off some steam, to procrastinate a little.

You might have noticed I’ve been a bit absent this week. Not much posting, and no Writer’s Notebook entry. Over at my Smile! blog, things have been just as silent.

I was sharpening my pencils.

Okay, what I was really doing was prepping a new literature course I might get to teach (dead narrators, y’all — my specialty), and polishing a chapbook to send to a publisher, and tutoring, and editing my Buddhist sangha‘s monthly newsletter…. Β All while getting ready for vacation, which is just another way of saying I’ll be absent from the blog for a bit longer.

I’m going to try to cue up a few posts for the next couple of weeks, though, things people have been asking me about. Someone I know on Facebook wondered what a chapbook is, and the answer has gotten interesting enough I think it might be worth sharing. I’ve been explaining my interest in dead narrators to colleagues all week, too, so maybe I’ll write up a little background on that topic. Another friend has a book coming out soon, from the press I work for, so I thought I’d write something about that.

I don’t know that I’ll actually get to all these things. Maybe I won’t. Maybe you’ll stop by here sometime next week and realize THIS is still the most recent post.

What can I say? I was feeling restless. I needed to leave my seat for a while.

But I’ll be back soon, and all the pencils will be sharp!

Published by Samuel Snoek-Brown

I write fiction and teach college writing and literature. I'm the author of the story collection There Is No Other Way to Worship Them, the novel Hagridden, and the flash fiction chapbooks Box Cutters and Where There Is Ruin.

11 thoughts on “Sharpening pencils

  1. I had forgotten about those sudden urgent needs to sharpen one’s pencil πŸ™‚ How delightful! I can remember the noise and the smell now…. thanks for reminding me…

    1. I still love a good old-fashioned #2 pencil. And yes! The smell of the woodshavings and graphite dust! I always volunteered to empty the wall-mounted pencil sharper because I loved the smell of it. πŸ™‚

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