Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Excerpt From The Magic Pencil by Karen E. Dabney

Excerpt from

The Magic Pencil

a vehicle to drive youth toward self-esteem

by Karen E. Dabney © 2009

from Chapter 1


Everybody likes the look, the feel an the size of a brand new, never been used pencil. An that pencil’s even better when it’s sharpened to a serious needlepoint. The teachers always be sayin: Don’t run with a pencil! You could injure someone!” So we run anyway cuz danger’s just a game to us. But back to the point--ha, ha. It’s best if you got a pencil that comes from someplace other than school. You can feel cooler than the kids usin them ole, free, yellow jobs. But if it is yellow--you still cool long as it don’t have the writin on it that the school pencils got. An it should be a number two. Everything I ever heard bout pencils asks for a number two.

Now I know most kids don’t be thinkin deep bout diffrent stuff as much as me.

See, I like to study things. Not just reglar things--like in school. I mean I like to watch people, animals an machines. Some a the kids I run wit call me The Watcher after the dude in that ole movie, The Brother from Another Planet. All he seemed to do was check everything out like a witness or somethin.

Yeah, I get into pencils just like most a my homies--but deeper--cuz I watch. The reason I do is cuz some kids be actin like a new pencil is gold! Even the ones who got they own! When the teacher busts out a new box--you’d think it’s everybody’s birthday! Which is weird cuz it’s the same ole school pencils--only new. Kids be tryin to act all cool an unimpressed but they watchin every move of the lucky one who gets to sharpen them pencils. Sharpenin is a whole nother story cuz some teachers got electric sharpeners!

I know I talk a lotta junk cuz I hang round older kids an even some adults. I manage to pick up a whole lotta ways to talk. Ole school an new school--it’s all the same to me. Conversatin an communicatin’s what it’s all bout.

We had a substitute teacher--Ms. Kady--for a week that tried to teach us how to properly use pencils. It tripped me out at first but she was OK so I listened. She said when she was in school the teachers showed the kids where an how to hold a pencil! She used a fat piece a chalk to demonstrate:

“My teachers would explain we were to lean the pencil back into the space between our thumbs an pointer fingers, in a slant. When the pencil lead became flat on one side, we’d turn it to the side that wasn’t. There was less waste, less sharpening, and less reason to get up.”

Boy, I knew wasn’t nobody goin for that! Ev-ery-body wanna sharpen they pencil at lease once a hour! Who even want they pencil to last longer than the eraser? The pencil be all stubbly an stuff. An those add-on erasers look wack. I ain never had a teacher--before that one--talk bout the right way to write--ha, ha. She said she hadtuh graduate to usin special ink pens in fourth grade! We can’t even use ink pens at my school! Too many kids be needin correction fluid all the time.

Since I been watchin, I’ve seen some things bout pencils that probly never will make no sense. Like playin leads or breaks. That’s when you an your partners try to see who can break whose pencil lead--or even the whole pencil--first by thumpin each other’s. I don’t even know why we do it! Maybe cuz we bored, wanna show off or cuz it drives the teachers nuts. It’s sorta the same way wit erasers. The teacher gives us nice new pink erasers. Sooner or later those erasers become history. It starts wit us puttin our names on them. Then some kids draw on them, stick they pencils into them, break or cut them in half, so now you got the crumbs developin. Course small pieces a rubber make good projectiles as Mr. Burns--the math teacher--calls them. So we end up throwin them at each other! After a while, hardly nobody got a eraser an those that do might share--or most likely won’t--cuz now the erasers is real valuable! Then we get reminded by the teachers bout how we abused the erasers when we had our own.

Speakin a ownin--it always be the kid who do the lease work wit the most pencils! This kid’s usely a boy. How he collects all them pencils is a bit of a mystery. He may’ve brought a few wit him, stole a few--he feels anything that hits the floor is fair game--might’ve got one from the speech teacher or lied an tol another teacher he needed one. Somehow he ends up wit bout fourteen in diffrent sizes, lengths an colors. He usely keeps a fat rubber band round them an displays his catch all day. You got a better chance a growin wings than gettin him to loan you one. An he hardly ever do any work or even draw! The one we got now don’t talk in class or do nothin. We call him The Collector.

Provided With Permission...

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