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The Sensuous Pencil

Blackwing pencil

I remember the first time I encountered a Palomino Blackwing pencil. I went stupid with love.

Someone had handed out pencils to members of my church choir for marking our music. I looked down at the slim, black pencil in my hand and was instantly smitten with its esthetic. The matte finish gleamed voluptuously. The oblong white eraser, held in place by a tiny metal grip above the gold ferrule, was pristine and ethereal. I was captivated by the words, Palomino Blackwing, stamped in gold along one hexagonal side. By now lovesick, I repeated the name to myself in an awed whisper.

I found reason to use the Blackwing several times during that choir practice, marveling at the smoothness of the writing experience. Besotted, I would use it, then stroke it, then stare at it some more.

At the end of practice, when the choir director collected the pencils, I refused to part with mine. As soon as I got home, I ordered a box of each kind: the Classic Blackwing with soft graphite (the black one I’d fallen in love with); the Blackwing 602 with firm graphite, encased in gray with a soft metallic sheen and sporting a gray eraser; and the Blackwing Pearl, which added distinction to its “balanced graphite” with a shimmering white coat and black eraser.

Adoring fan (and copywriter) that I am, I studied the box and its text,“Blackwing Story.”

"Blackwing pencils were originally introduced by the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company in the 1930s,” the package copy read. “Their cult following included John Steinbeck and Chuck Jones, who proudly used Blackwings to create Bugs Bunny and many other Looney Tunes characters.”

Wow. What a pedigree!

“Despite this following, they fell victim to cost cutting measures in the 1990s and were discontinued. That didn’t stop devotees from paying as much as $40 per pencil to seize unused stock. In 2010, our company drew from nearly a century of experience in the pencil business to access the best materials in the world and bring Blackwing back for a new generation of writers, musicians, and other seeking a more natural existence.”

Hmm… I might have called it “a more gratifying, even elevated writing experience.” But that’s me. Always editing.

Today you can find my collection of Blackwing pencils in my purse, my car, and every room of my home. I enjoy the pleasure of using a Blackwing for everything from grocery lists to journal entries. I even bought one of their two-stage sharpeners that shaves the wood, then trims the lead to a fine, glossy point.

Blackwing boldly claims the pencil encourages creativity, and while it may be hyperbolic, I second that notion. I’m also enchanted by the discovery that a percentage of every Blackwing product sold benefits music and arts education in elementary and high schools.

I implore you to stop what you’re doing right now and visit the Blackwing website so you can learn more about this gorgeous writing instrument and explore the varieties of a transcendent writing experience.

I’m sure you’re wondering, so let me say flat out that I have no affiliation with Blackwing or any other company that markets their products. I’m just a big fan. Readers are free to follow or ignore my suggestions at their own discretion.

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