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Exercise #205 - Pencils

How a character handles a given object can be immensely revealing. Briefly describe, as specifically as you can, how the following characters would handle a pencil:
  • a harried, middle-aged librarian named Greta Hurleyburton
  • an elderly lawyer named Gregory Wooster IV
  • a ten-year-old boy named Bruce
  • a purple-haired installation artist who signs her work "Ahn R Keyy"

1, 2, 3, GO!

First things first, what the heck is an installation artist??? A quick Google search has told me that they are the people who create site-specific 3D art pieces that attempt to transform a space and alter our perception like this:
Reverse of Volume - Yasuaki Onishi
or this:
I Fly Like Paper - Dawn Ng
or this:
Falling Garden - Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger
 Now that my ignorance has been squashed, let's continue, shall we?

Miss Greta Hurleyburton always has at least two pencils shoved in her bun, normally at odd angles that throw off the symmetry of her thin yet kind face. They serve no purpose other than easy access to a writing utensil, because a hair tie secures the bun at the nape of her neck. But they're there, and that's all that matters. She has been without a pencil too many times not to have learned that one should have a pencil within one's arm's reach at all times regardless of one's location. It is a vital tool not only for her job, but for her life, so she simply cannot risk to walk around all willy-nilly without one. Unfortunately, due to her scatterbrained personality she frequently leaves them in various places around the library, so she finds her supplies dwindling at the end of every week. As a result, she now has a close, personal relationship with her pencil pusher (heh), Mr. Bic. In fact, the last time they spoke, he asked her out on a date, and she's considering. Best of luck to them both.

Pencils are nowhere near permanent enough for Mr. Gregory Wooster IV. They're too light, too easily broken, too cheap. He refuses to use them unless he has absolutely no option, but he tries to always keep his artisan fountain pen in his waistcoat whenever he's at work. That way, there would be no reason for him to use something as commonplace as a pencil. In the event that he has uncharacteristically forgotten his fancy pen on a stack of unsigned checks atop his mahogany desk in his office, he will write as quickly and briefly as he possibly can: one word notes that he can expound upon later once his prized fountain pen is back in his possession.

Bruce likes to chew on pencils. Whether it's the eraser, the graphite tip, or the wooden shaft, he will chew until there is no pencil left. He doesn't eat it, of course, because that would be gross, but he has found himself with graphite powder all over his fingers, mouth, and chin at the end of the school day, much to his teacher's chagrin. He has been chastised on numerous occasions, but he just can't stop. He doesn't chew on anything else; just his pencils. His parents have considered only allowing him to use pens, but graphite is much easier to clean than ink, so they nixed that idea pretty quickly. Thankfully, now that the digital age is in full swing, his opportunities to use a pencil are greatly diminishing.

Ahn R Keyy was born Anne Arkeizian, a name that just didn't fit her progressive, creative lifestyle. It most certainly didn't fit her purple hair. She's not so much a writer, but she does use pencils frequently, just not in the way that you would normally consider using them. When she was in high school, she broke into her English class and hung hundreds of #2 pencils from the ceiling in the shape of a large 'F' to symbolize the overwhelming fear of failure in mainstream educational culture. Ever since then, she has focused on wooden pencils as her main medium for all of her art projects. They are her muse, her vision, her life. Pencils can say so much without saying anything at all, you know?

-- END --

What did you come up with? Share your writing in the comments section!



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