The Simple Things

There is a certain pleasure in picking a simple tool for a job. Not the best tool, or the quickest tool, but the simplest one. Like cycling with only one gear and no freewheel, or writing with a pencil.

Writing is something that, over the centuries, has developed a whole range of tools. I’ve tried most of them. I have a PC and a Mac, a manual typewriter, a range of different pens, and some of the best pencils in the world. When it comes to writing, I’ll choose the pencil over all the others.

It isn’t even as though I frequently need to erase things, or that I’m doing some doodle that needs the sort of shading you can only do with a pencil. I just love the feel of the pencil as it runs across the page. The tactile pleasure of forming words. Even bad pencils with scratchy graphite can be a joy, reminding you that your creating something. It’s a pleasure you just don’t get from changing pixels on a screen.

There are downsides too. The pencil needs sharpening. Okay, that in itself can be fun but it is a little distracting. And the stuff you scribble is going to need typing up eventually if anyone else is going to read it. And when you stop pedalling on the fixed-wheel bike it tries to throw you off. But if there weren’t downsides then everyone would be doing it. And if everyone is doing it then it’s not going to be cool any more, is it?

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