• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

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