Chris Blattman


Margaret Atwood tells us how to write fiction. Suggestion number one:

Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. Pens leak. But if the pencil breaks, you can’t sharpen it on the plane, because you can’t take knives with you. Therefore: take two pencils.

I haven’t used pen nor penmanship since they stopped forcing me in sixth grade. I’ve been a printing and pencil man ever since. I, however, use mechanical pencils, which solves the airplane problem nicely.

Sadly, superior pencil habits are perhaps my only edge over Margaret Atwood.

While we are on the subject of pencils and prose, let me recommend a fabulous essay, I, Pencil.

6 Responses

  1. Pens leak? I may not be a globetrotter, but I’ve never had a pen go bad on me during a flight on 30-50 flights.

    And how is this tidbit different from writing non-fiction? Pencils for fiction, crayons for non-fiction so you don’t take yourself too seriously? Scented marker for research results you don’t quite believe yourself, but if you admitted that they wouldn’t publish?


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