Pencils, bad days and getting over yourself

Life can be difficult. It is the nature of our human existence, the penalty of emotions. There are times we want to give in to them and not in a good way, and then there are times where we draw strength, shrug, and continue. Finding ways to combat our feelings is important and we all have our different methods. Meditation, positive thinking, physical exercise, the list is endless – things designed to get us thinking and back on track.

Some people have quirky methods and don’t even realise they are drawing conclusions, gaining realisation. I don’t have any magic solutions but too often I wish I did. Then again, don’t we all particularly when things get hard?

yellow pencil lot
Photo by Marina on

On use, pencils become blunt, and we all know a sharp pencil is best. Are you thinking how bizarre it is to have the sudden switch in conversation to something as mundane as pencils? Well, it is, and it isn’t. Not so long ago, a blogger I follow, Hi! I’m Stuart. I write stuff wrote a blog about pencils and reading it turned out to be just what I needed to combat a low point slowly wreaking havoc on my view of life for the last few months.

Stuart’s fancy was caught by something he read about John Steinbeck. I immediately took note as I had not long written a post on Steinbeck. Stuart says: “John Steinbeck’s creative process was thus: sharpen 24 pencils and stick them point up in a container. Start writing. Once a pencil is worked to a dull point—generally after four to five sentences—it would be stored point down in a separate container.”

A rather left field view you might be thinking but Steinbeck also wrote something about that pencil that made perfect sense: “For years I have looked for the perfect pencil. I have found very good ones but never the perfect one. And all the time it was not the pencils but me.”

We can do many things to help us through life and they are effective. However, the most important thing we can do is see the reality of a situation and our part in it. Everything begins with us, with our acceptance of our limitations, most especially the ones we impose on ourselves. The perfect pencil might be out there, but do you have the belief, the one that will allow you to script the perfect tale.

For the last six months a thousand pencils would not have helped. I had to look at myself and understand my fears. I have worked so hard to learn this craft, but the doubts never leave my side. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have people around you willing to sharpen those pencils and hand them to you. The truth however is simple. If you want something you need to believe in yourself and hope that along the way you may be lucky enough to have the people around you, hand you some pencils already sharpened. Sharpened perhaps with love and good wishes?

Enough of the serious and the cryptic. Thought I would entertain you with some memes.

And last but not least a view of what the world should be, could be if we let it be.

See you next time,


Questions for me? Want to share your views and ideas? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and I will get back to you.

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  1. Nice thoughts Barbara. A life’s lesson that could be valued by many. We should have a ‘pencil sharpener day’ each year as an annual reminder of the concept to all and sundry. Get Hallmark on the job with greeting cards for the occasion and rally up millions of pencil sharpeners to donate to schools as part of the campaign to educate kids on supporting their fellow man in this way. But sadly, their probable first response to my comment would be to criticize my use of the term ‘fellow man’.

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