• Sleeping or waking, we hear not the airy footsteps of the strange things that almost happen... Yet these things are always right beside our paths." David Swan pg 194 by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Thursday, July 10, 2014


For my 1st English class we had to write a "This I Believe" essay, and make a short screen-cast. For me it was very difficult. I had never done such a thing before. The result did get me an excellent grade but I was very stressed. I did not publish to the 'This I Believe' website.

I have finally decided to share the essay and screen-cast. If the link doesn't work just copy this information ( ) to your browser and wait for the screen-cast to load.

FDEng 101~ 66
Elisabeth Thomas
14 October 2013

Pencil . . . and Erasures

I like short pencils. I don’t break pencils in half on purpose, but I prefer that length; and yes, I most often write in pencil. My husband, on the other hand, likes new pencils. We are a pair.

As his long pencils become “too short,” I acquire perfect just-my-size pencils to wear out. Let me, however, clarify. I believe in pencil—not pencil as a noun: an inexpensive “instrument having a tapered point for its application”[1] in drawing, marking, or writing; but pencil as a verb: a process of action and ongoing change for the making of non-permanent impressions, as may occur during the use of a pencil (or other objects) to “outline, sketch, or delineate.”[2]

“Pencil” is the easily-smeared, simple-to-change and re-order, uncommitted-gray evidence of evolving life. It is what occurs prior to inked permanence. Pencil is readily “rubbed out, effaced, expunged, and obliterated.” It can “utterly cease to exist.”[3] Pencil is the ability to tentatively try, erase mistakes, and try again to improve error and success. I like that erasures eradicate. Pencil permits me to experiment, to attempt all things without the necessity to be perfect—yet. It may begin with a clearly defined point, but often finds its greatest value long after, down among rounded, fat, smudged, hasty scribbles jotted before (and even as) the scratching wood compels a pause that re-sharpens or shapes an instrument, thought or action.

At heart I am an artist. I revel in music, art, dance, and literature, yet can only execute discordant notes, simple sketches, and stumbling steps; and when I write, words pile upon hasty words spilling directly from mind to page. I am a novice.

Although I accept I have not (and may never) master any endeavor, I am in awe of talent of all kinds. I love sports, but you would pick me last to be on your team.Science and mathematics astound my mind, but I fail to grasp more than the edge of a vision of possibilities.

I do have talents. They begin with what I do best—trying. I do what I can to satiate my visceral hunger to perfect my existence by focusing on what I can do—leaving ignored absolutes of cannot. When accidents took my ability to run I learned, with great effort, to walk. After multiple piano teachers asserted, “lessons are wasting your money,” I continued to teach myself—constantly accessing new resources to train my mind and hands. I continue to practice.

I live in the same manner. In admiration of the greatest and noblest ideals, constantly seeking to follow inspiring examples, I pencil my ideas and acts next to those of the masters. I am continually comparing, erasing, adjusting, rearranging and re-ordering myself—I know I can become something more than I now am. I am not ready to be inked yet. I am willing to do and become better. I believe in pencil . . . AND erasures.

[1] Oxford English Dictionary, I 2
[2] Ibid I b
[3] Ibid see Erasures

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