The Lost Art of Scribbling and a Return to Moleskine

I’m a computer guy, but I grew up in the days when, if you wanted to write something, you sat down in a chair, behind a table, and you took up a pencil, and you started filling in a blank sheet of paper with something that meant something.

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Is Handwriting a Dying Art?

Let me give you a few questions to ponder. When somebody tells you that they want to give you their phone number, do you reach for a pen and paper or do you open your contact list in your phone? If you want to remember an appointment, do you write it down on a calendar with a pen or pencil or do you set up an e-mail reminder? When you have an idea that you don’t want to forget, do you write it down in a journal of some sort or do you digitally record it, perhaps e-mailing it to yourself?

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The Peril of a Mechanical Pencil

The modern world made a sea change when the wood pencil was replaced by a mechanical one — and what was lost in that industrial design exchange was our tether to the land, a sense of impermanence, and a shared yearning for renewable resources.

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Curse of the Blue Pencil

If you give someone a blue pencil and the title of an editor — I promise you that blue pencil will be used to edit and change your work merely because of the title in mind and the pencil in hand. 

Editing someone else’s work is a tender task that must put you, as the editor, in the mind of the author.  It is not the editor’s job to change the work just because the work can be changed. 

As the publisher of Go Inside Magazine and Urban Semiotic and Boles Books — each day I deal with the delicate task of preserving the author’s voice and perspective while making the whole work work better.

The editor’s primary directive is to make the work better and sometimes that means dropping the blue pencil — and its uncanny, innate, instinct to propel you forward with editorial power — and let the work breathe its own life into the world without your direct interference.

The best editors are those that edit with an invisible hand and a steady eye and they are always deferential to the work and a tie forever goes to the author.

Smelling of Pencils

There are two pencil factories in Jersey City. One is the 150-year old Dixon Ticonderoga pencil factory that now warehouses 467 apartments instead of pencils and erasers. The other is the 120-year-old General Pencil Company that lives a block away from me on Fleet Street.

Gen Pen

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