My mom just told me that my elementary school is no longer teaching cursive to its students. “They all have iPads now,” she explained while my face reacted to the curious news in an expression that denoted bewilderment. (Think two raised eyebrows and my “indentations of knowledge” at an all time deep.) But what about preserving a primal instinct to make things with your hands? To put letters on paper that amount to words, and then a story or sentiment that means something far more personal than anything a computer can conjure up. What about that?
I know, I know, in the era of iCanDoEverythingWithThisTouchScreen, penmanship is indubitably a dying–if not already completely lost–art, but won’t these kids ever feel hungry to use their hands, their whole hands–not just their finger tips–to share a story? To write a love note? Hell, to sign a freaking credit card receipt?
After losing the battle in matters of ye old No.2 pencil (“iPads are educational!,” the naysayers argue,) I got to thinking about the last time I used a pencil.
It’s been years.
As a kid, I was obsessed with lead pencils. And not just because of the phenomenon of clicking down on an eraser and seeing a pencil effectively resharpen itself. That grey lead would stain the inside of my dominant hand, dyeing the area from the middle of my pinky finger to the very top of my wrist with a stamp of confirmation indicating that I worked hard, that the hand-written work of my mental objects meant something, damnit. Now I just tap, tap, tap in ease–my fingertips are barely aware that they’re even working.
I long for the days of pen and paper. Of finger cramps.
Only really in retrospect, though, because those cramps were kind of violent, which I suppose helps the newest iteration of pencil (it’s for your lips, not paper) maintain only the sweetest elements of the old ones. (Give or take the ability to chalk yourself up to a regular Hemingway.) And though I’m no longer perfecting a lower-case, cursive “z,” I am knighting myself with a brand of power that only lipstick can anoint.
Maybe I’ve taken to Nars’ Satin Lip Pencils in a bout of nostalgia because they allow my memory a healthy jog without compromising the circumstances of my previous immigration to the land of many keyboards.
The colors come in a 13-shade variety that range from a rather dark bordeaux to a fairly pale peach (figure the handwriting equivalent a 2,000 word essay vs. a four-stanza poem) and stain the lip long enough to maintain full, creamy color through the course of your day/night. What’s more? This thoughtful Lip Pencil appreciates the importance of an eraser because, you know, sometimes we make mistakes. You will not wake up the following morning looking like your 6-year-old self having spent one too many hours playing dress-up in your mother’s makeup cabinet–staine
Perhaps what is most fun, though, is that sincere semblance to a now vintage writing pencil. There’s this feeling of comfort and familiarity associated with it, an inconspicuous celebration of older days. And while I know I’m not replacing the visceral feeling of writing (except in matters of my mirror) per se, I can make concessions.
After all, I’m still writing a story, aren’t I? I’ve just decided to use my lips to tell it.