March 10, 2008

Pencil

In the unfolding course of my dissertation write-up, I have tended to increasingly use pencils, instead of pens. Primary reason is simply that I have more pencils at hand (when all other alternatives lack…), but I was also advices once in a (creative) writing workshop that you should always use a pencil instead of a pen. “Because you can then subsequently make alterations in your text, or simply wipe out a whole block and use the page again!” our resourceful tutor pointed out.

All this reminds me of a Soviet joke I once heard. It goes something like this. In the time when the space competition was at its very height, the Americans pumped several millions of dollars into a new research project. Objective of the project was to develop a pen that could be used in space. Normal ballpoint models would have trouble with floating ink, as this is obviously a liquid substance.

When the Soviets came to hear about this project, they all laughed out loud. They simply used pencils.


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