Earlier this evening while I was sitting on the couch sharpening pencils for tomorrow, Billy my mother-in-law’s boyfriend read me some facts about pencils. And it’s a good thing too. Otherwise I wouldn’t know that John Steinbeck went through 300 pencils writing East of Eden. He used about 60 a day. Tonight I sharpened five and it was a doozy. My sharpened five are pictured above and they are pretty shameful. I learned this today: you use an exacto knife to expose about 2 inches of lead. Then you sharpen the length of lead to a fine needle point on a square of sandpaper. The cutting was fine, the sharpening got the better of me. I’ll go back and correct tomorrow with a lower grit sand paper. The pencils have points and all, but the shaft of lead remains pretty straight. I was supposed to make a very long refined cone out of the lead.