If anyone deserves new pencils, it’s Proust!

Proust is dead. I know. But hey, it’ll take a lot more than that to stop me buying new pencils for him.

Let me explain.

When Lucy and I realised that by total coincidence,  we were both ploughing our way through ‘In Search of Lost Time’ simultaneously, we took it as a sign. Our ensuing discussions about the challenges of tackling the tough guys and gals of the literary world led to us start this very blog. Cue – the furious scribbling of ideas in the margins of books, the seeds of ideas for posts emerging as we read.

I’m usually faithfully wedded to my fountain pen for everything handwritten,  but I quickly discovered that book margins and ink definitely don’t mix. My writing has borderline legibility as it is, without spidery, smudgy fraying at the edges. I confess, I even considered using a biro for a nanosecond, but they’re messy and frankly, ugly beasts. However, after some fruitful googling, I discovered the Mont Blanc of the pencil world and I was converted.

The Palomino Blackwing 602, favoured by such illustrious names as author John Steinbeck, animation director Chuck Jones, and record producer Quincy Jones, has a dedicated following and now I know why. The company slogan printed on each pencil is ‘Half the pressure, twice the speed’ and it’s certainly true that the satin smooth lead just glides across the page. There is no squeak or drag, the action is like silk. I am totally hooked, in fact, I am in love. With a pencil!


My copy of ‘The Way by Swann’s’ is now littered with Palomino Blackwing thoughts and scribblings, as are the mounting pile of books I’m reading for this blog. I’d like to say they’re neat, but that’d be a lie. Let’s just say they’re back on this side of the legibility border. Just!