Tastes Like Cedar

I have never been a particular fan of pencils, and when I did have to use them in my early school years, I was particular about them. Those fat training pencils they give to very young children were never my style. My hands are small, for one thing – the average sixth grader has larger hands than I do – so I don’t like thick pens either, and they were never sharp enough. When I write, I like the words to come out in definitive black, not non-committal gray.

My pencils, then, were always sharpened to a needle-fine point, and while they were the No. 2’s that make ScanTrons happy in all corners of the universe, they were also brilliantly yellow, and smelled of cedar.

Actually they tasted like cedar, too. I know this because, I admit, I used to be a pencil chewer. Most of us had some kind of oral fixation in grade school, I think. For many it was gum. I’m not a gum chewer. I don’t see the point in food you’re not supposed to swallow, and frankly, I think gum is too much work for too little payoff. So, there were pencils. Not that they were a snack food, because of course, they weren’t. But when you’re thinking hard about something having a pencil between your teeth helps a bit. It’s the schoolgirl equivalent of being given a bullet to bite in order to distract yourself from pain.

I mention all this because I’ve bought pencils twice in the last two years. In October, 2006, I bought pencils to put in the survival kits I made for my WriMos. They were pencils in fashion colors – blue, maroon, mauve – points not included.

I bought pencils again, yesterday. Ten boxes. Presumably these are the yellow kind, but the color really doesn’t matter. I bought them because yesterday was Day 30 of the WGA strike, and there’s a campaign to flood the offices of the six corporate entities that represent the “bosses” in the strike. I support the WGA as a fan, because without writers there are no words for actors to speak. I support them as a writer, even though I’m in no way connected with the industry, because I know how much working writers really earn. I mean, I am one. Also, I like creative protests. I mean, picketing is all very well and good – it makes your point very visible, and all that, but sending mountains of pencils has an element of the absurd that really appeals to me.

So I bought pencils. (I also bought a tent-sized t-shirt to use as a night gown, because I’m the kind of girl who prefers big t-shirts to lacy lingerie, really. Cotton rocks my world, and all that.)

If you’re a fan, or a writer, you can buy pencils, too, for a buck a box.

Pencils 2 Media Moguls
[Image links to Pencils2MediaMoguls]

This isn’t meant as a rah-rah support the WGA post. It’s really just me sharing part of my day yesterday. If, however, you are inclined to read more about the strike, I suggest the following links:

  • Speechless – a series of video spots featuring prominent actors.
  • Fans4Writers – Fan support site. A bunch of folks from Whedonesque started it.
  • United Hollywood – exactly what it sounds like
  • To Live by the Pen, by Doris Egan, one of the writer-producers of House, as well as a novelist. It’s a fascinating piece of Hollywood history, as well as being a concise explanation of why these people are striking.
  • Ethical Bloggyness, by Tanya Huff, Canadian author of the wonderful Blood Ties books, which Lifetime TV turned into a series.
  • CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Tastes Like Cedar by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.