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.