Friday, 23 April 2010


When I write for myself
I write quickly with a very sharp pencil.
I love the faint scratching sound
and the feel of the graphite
sliding across the paper.

I write in cheap reporters notebooks
and poems are interleaved
with lists of chores and shopping.

This photograph was taken
immediately after I had finished writing
but it seemed too private, too personal, to post.

Perhaps that is because it records the moment
when words leap the gap
between my head and the world.

By the time they reach the screen
they belong to you, the reader,
but until then, as gray shapes on gray lines,
they still belong to me, the writer.


This post is for Jackie
who suggested writing about writing

and for
whose first email arrived out of the blue a year ago.

Their friendship,and your friendship,
which has brought me so many smiles
and so much encouragement,
has been made possible
by the magic of the inkless internet.

I am profoundly grateful.


  1. I've always felt that photos of my handwriting are too intimate to share.

  2. Also - that is a wonderful pencil.

  3. Don't shopping lists, chores and Poetry go together?? ;-)

  4. It never crossed my mind that all of you blog veterans could actually "write". I thought you just scribbled on your laptops or Iphones, Blackberries, Palms and such high tech tools.
    Those are THE BEST pencils EVER except I am the opposite of you, I need my points round and fat.
    Just like me.

  5. My handwriting is now so terrible, I can barely read it myself. I love the world of compters, where I can type a neat letter of agreement, or complaint, knowing it will be legible.
    As for pencils... I like mine sharp and to the point.

  6. Gosh Alice, there is something so vulnerable and personal about that picture. That must be a rather wonderful notebook, the story of a life in shopping lists and poems, I think that would make an excellent good book proposition....

    I love those pencils too, but where do they go? I buy a great big handful at the start of each school year and right now I have taken to keeping my personal pencil hidden with my Greene and Black chocolate spread and my fountain pen.

  7. "excellent good" I apologise for my incoherence, for some reason I have failed to consume coffee today, I think I had better go and top up my levels right away.

  8. There is obviously a place in the world for both handwriting and typing on computers. Lovely post Alice.

  9. I knew yours would be magical. The photograph is stunning in both content and quality..oh! Two kinds of sharp ..

  10. Thank you Alice - particularly as the photograph is of 'afterword' which brings me such comfort.
    Bobby x

  11. 2B or not 2B ?

    or crayon d'etre ?

  12. Everything you do is so nice Alice.

  13. I use reporter's notebooks, too. But sadly mine contain only mundane lists, no poetry. K x

  14. Pencils for writing...

    I too love a sharp wooden HB pencil. I am also obsessed with finding the perfect metal single hole sharpener. I had one once that left every pencil pointy and ready to write after a single turn, but I lost it and none since has matched its performance.


Thank you! I love reading your comments and even though I don't always have time to reply I am really grateful to every one who joins in the conversation.