My Pencil


My pencil guffawed.

It was a loud, harsh, grating sound.

It reminded me of the spirits, in the story, ‘ The Flute‘, by Chinua Achebe.

” You can’t write?’, he spat at me. “You can’t write and it’s all my fault???

Well, whose fault was it then?

I haven’t been able to put pen to paper…in this case, pencil. Surely it must be pencil’s fault.

I didn’t articulate my thoughts but he read them all the same. Were we not one?

I conceived my thoughts; he brought them to life. So it followed that if I couldn’t write, he wasn’t playing his part.

He spat at me again. This time, lead flew all over the page leaving thick, black marks.

“Write, you fool! Write until you can write no more! Write until your fingers cramp up and your eyes bleed but don’t sit there holding all those seeds of thought and blame me for not birthing them.

Why should I not blame him? I needed to blame someone! If not him, then who?

“Blame yourself!”, He spat again. This time, large chunks of my journal were gouged out by his lead missiles; he was taking no prisoners.

“Blame your foolish fears! Your foolish excuses! “…I have to sleep early”…”I’m working tomorrow”…”I’m not in the mood”…”My mind is blank, blah, blah, blah”, he finished off in a perfect imitation of my ‘whiny’ voice.

And yet he wasn’t quite finished.

“You think writing is a joke? A task for the faint of heart?” He snorted and shook his rear at me. The eraser looked redder than it normally did; like the baboon at our local zoo.

“If you don’t use me, someone else will…to measure planks of wood or to add up rows of digits… and then when there’s nothing  left of me but a stump, I wonder how you’ll bring your thoughts to bear.”

A horrifying darkness descended upon me…how can I not write?

My head will burst open like an over-ripe paw-paw if I didn’t use pencil to birth my thoughts.

I rummaged furiously through my black, leather bag: the one with gold-plated buckles. There was a fish-shaped sharpener at the bottom.

I shoved pencil into fish-shaped sharpener’s mouth, twisted him until his mouth was a sharp point, then I wrote and wrote and wrote…

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