write in pencil only …

because there is something so much more tactile about using a pencil, instead of this machine I use, which is always at some remove;

because for me, it suggests that we play around with ideas that are never final, always changing;

because I’m planning on spending some time in the British Library looking at fourteenth-century manuscripts, if they’ll let me, and in there, you can write in pencil only;

because the words are a line in a poem I wrote about sensuality, and some of the ideas ring true for travel as well, I think:

… if you take a notebook

write in pencil only

a word here a sketch there

brief maps of sensation

collect only a memento or two

shards to rest quiet on the shelf

waiting to be handled     give up their dust

restore you to that land.

Better still             close your eyes go blind

gather memory in skin …

13 thoughts on “write in pencil only …

  1. I love the lingering smell of impermanence. Visiting antiquity with a tool that is barely one step beyond charcoal on a cave wall. We come with so little to something much older and mysterious and we leave with less. Love it.


    1. True, David. Ancient sites make me realise the impermanence of life, but it’s also a good thing that they built and wrote so much in stone, or we’d have nothing from so long ago.


  2. Beautiful – I love the feel and touch of newly sharpened pencils and they make it so easy to alter my crossword answers. Safe travels – Yvonne


  3. Hi robyn, you will be with us in spirit at our writing group meeting on Sunday. thanks for sharing your blog and ideas. Cheers, Amanda


    1. Thanks Myf. I wish I could learn to write in pencil. I think it would slow me down, which would be a good thing. I’ve brought away with me a 3B drawing pencil to see if I can persuade myself to draw a little, too.


      1. Drawing is something I took up a little bit on one of our trips and I also played with it momentarily on this latest trip, while sitting on the beach outside a taverna at Faros on Ikaria. I am not in the remotest sense at all talented in the area of drawing but I find it a great thing to do when travelling, to stop and look, really look and draw what I see. When I look back on past drawings I even think they aren’t too bad. It uses a different part of our brain to when we write about it. Hi Robyn. I’ve just checked in to your blog and send you my admiration for making it happen…and you know I love that poem!


      2. Di, drawing instead of taking photos — that’s one of the things I’ve been thinking about. I have a friend who won’t take photos so that he can make himself really look and remember. And I know that drawing was the nineteenth-century traveller’s photograph. Would love to have a look at your drawings when I get back. Thanks for the kind comments and sorry for the delay in replying, but you know what the internet thing is like overseas…


  4. Love the flow, Robyn. Can you write in pencil on an iPad? Is there a HB font? Or preferably a 2B? Methinks not. Strolling down La Ramblas in Barcelona the thing that stays in my mind is the young couple walking their little pig on a leash……..a classic!
    Not a fan of the blog thing but I like your metre. Shall follow with interest. Steve.


    1. Thanks Steve! I think HB font would be a lovely thing, though not exactly sure what it would look like. But you’re right, I do all this work on a computer, and I really wish I would do more in pencil. It’s interesting isn’t it, that we tend to remember places by the little, odd things, at least as much as by the spectacular sites.


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