Friday, August 17, 2007

Tied up with string

Tomorrow I am going to a party celebrating my dear friend Jane's birthday. With a side of housewarming. She is a person of wild and extraordinary talents, hooded blue eyes like coupons cut out of estuary water, and a kind of gulfstream system of loves and loyalties that make her never a dull moment. She is a playwright --- wonderful, wonderful word, even among all those appellations with which I am so in love.

This is my gift, wrapped up in my favourite brown paper and cotton string. I am holding it right now, because it is comforting, and today I have been squashed like a bug by someone whose mission it was to make me feel squashed like a bug. And, damn it all to hell, they managed it. Bug. Squashed. Me: 0. Evil squashing waste of my time: 1.

In spite of my enduring love for the paper and string, the best part of wrapping the gift is the fat white pencil I have for writing on the black tag. The pencil is from that mecca of stationery porn, Ordning&Reda, which is to notebooks and paper what Krispy Kreme is to donuts. And don't even get me started on the boxes. Which are expensive. Well, no, not really, except that I want them en masse. The thought of buying a lone instance of their black linen-covered medium box makes me think of a black bear cub alone in the snow. In the shops I pick them up and hold them fondly before putting them back on the shelf in the lovely matching-but-slightly-mismatching stack to which they so rightly belong. In my dreams, I have a room, or perhaps just a wall, which looks just like an archive. A ranked and filed flock of boxes, everything contentedly under a lid.

The white pencil is stout and vaguely anarchic. Ur-paper is white, erasers are white, correction fluid is white, the empty PhotoShop window is white. It is the un-pencil. You could unwrite something, white it out, blank it, bleach it. Goodbye, words! Or you could write on something black, something dark and unforgiving. And like magic, a message.


Scrivener said...

An un-pencil sounds like a very handy thing, except most of the words I'd want to erase are only written inside my own head and I'm guessing a white pencil doesn't do much to erase those. Nonetheless, the metaphor is a powerful one.

Sorry you got squashed, but it says far more about this person whose mission was to squash you than about you.

Xtin said...

Thanks Scriv. I really hope that's true.

Heidi the Hick said...

First of all, the picture of the wall of cubicles holding all those gorgeous notebooks and boxes and pencils and pens makes me dizzy with desire!

Second, I do think you can unsquash yourself. I've been mercilessly squashed. Flattened. It may take awhile to reinflate but you will.