My Book Character Owes Me 50 Bucks…

creative nonfiction

e9db9bf54eb69099-IMG_7668And when I say bucks I don’t mean bucks, I mean pounds sterling, which means he owes me 75 bucks. What with him being American and me being English it’s an easy mistake. Possibly it’s not the last time this mistake is going to be made. Either way, the character in the book I am currently writing got one over on me and he used my long held fascination with fresh stationary to do it.

There’s something about a fresh notebook and an un-chewed pen that just fills me with optimism. False optimism, mostly, but still that first hit is amazing.

As a kid, I started every school year with an explosion of ambition brought on by a good, long idle in the stationary section of WH Smiths. The slap of a fresh exercise book landing on the desk in front of me always felt like the wake up call I had been waiting for. This year would be different. Instead of a report that read, ‘If Alan would spend less time looking out of the window he would be a bright boy”, I would get a report that read, “Alan is so very bright, not even the view out of the windows can distract him from his lust for knowledge.”

Stationary today still holds many of the same powers over me, even if the fantasy has toned itself down over the years. Fresh notebooks still inspire me to do better. I stop and browse the Moleskin rack whenever I happen to pass one, although my favourite notebook is by far the Leuchtturm 1917 classic (5 3/4″ x 8 1/4″)

Oh, and maybe I have a small collection of vintage pencils. Let’s not make a big thing of it.

So the character in the book I am writing is an architect, from a long line of architects. As a young man he inherits some tools of the trade from his grandfather. An antique drafting table and stool, some T-squares and several boxes of silver-tipped Graf von Faber-Castells. Even though his peers are working with mechanical pencils, even though he knows that mechanical pencils make the job of drafting easier, the silver-tipped Graf von Faber-Castells remains his pencil of choice throughout his career.

One of the most common pieces of writing advice is, write what you know. You can see my problem, right? I have never held a Silver-tipped Graf von Faber-Castell in my hand, so…

Silver-tipped Graf von Faber-Castells cost £38.00 ($58) for a set of six. Plus there was £10 postage ($15). That’s £8 per pencil ($12). Which is just plain stupid. And I just received the shipping notice so it is too late to change my mind.

And it’s all the fault of this Daniel Whitlock, this architect fellow.

And if upon arrival these £8 a piece pencils turn out to be crap I will confront this Whitlock fool and demand satisfaction. But if they totally seem like, you know, good value for money I might blog about them and start a craze for £8 a pop pencils.

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