Sunday Sesh with TLG: Sharpen Your Pencil

It’s Sunday – you’ve got more time to read, I’ve got more time to write, so grab a wine and I’ll tell you a story.


I took a day trip with my nan and pop when I was eleven. My cousin came along too. We visited the Golden Guitar at Tamworth.

I tried to be good. I feigned interest in the day’s activities. One thing I was interested in was the flint bomb my cousin was making with an old lighter. Other than that, I was secretly bored.

Until I saw it.

I broke my good behaviour bond.

Nan, please you have to buy me this pencil.

No, no souvineers.

But I need it. I want to take it to school.

What will you do with a pencil big enough to play golf with? Pop asked.

I wanted to grab the oversized pencil, the one that had the maps of Australia, pictures of kangaroos and koalas as well as yellow road signs and I wanted to run away with it, hide in a cave and practise writing with it.

Then I wanted to take it to school and use it in class.

You see, all of my classmates had their pen licence but I didn’t, my handwriting was still too messy. But if I had a supersized pencil with maps on it, my classmates would realise how small their blue contacted, pen licenses were! It would save me.

Please nan, I need it.

It’s unpractical Tracie, you wouldn’t be able to sharpen it.

You could use my knife like this. My cousin pulled out a pen knife and began sharpening it in the shop.

Put that away. Get her the pencil if she wants it, Pop said.

After the icecream incident a few years earlier where I convinced nan to buy me a huge chocolate heart instead of an icy pole and breaking my promise to eat it after the first bite, there was no way I would let my grandparents down now. And, I would make up for it with the huge pencil.

When I returned to school after the holidays I felt a certain lightness in my step with the knowledge that I had a secret weapon in my bag. All morning I had pondered when would be the optimum time to reveal my superpower. In show and tell? In maths? In story writing?

Maths lesson began and I was planning to introduce my new friend to my classmates when the teacher announced that all students who hadn’t completed their eight times tables for homework had to go to the back.

This did not suit me. Because I had spent all my time playing with my new pencil I hadn’t thought to use it to do my eight times tables. It wasn’t fair, I needed the stage not the space behind the curtain.

Finally, in story writing time the curtains were drawn for me and the spotlight was switched on. The teacher instructed us to write a story about our holidays. Everyone opened their books and those with pen licenses placed them on the table above their books. My classmate beside me smiled as she placed hers in front of her. I smiled back,  nice and big.

Then it happened. I retrieved my pencil from my bag.

Instantly the whole table started talking, someone tried to snatch it from my hand to take a look, I pretended I was in the middle of writing a very important sentence before handing it over for a quick look. My classmates from another table came over to see what the fuss was about. The fuss was about me and my new huge pencil with the maps on it!

Where did you get it? Someone asked.

The Golden Guitar. My nan bought it for me.

Then one of the boys appeared next to me.

Oh yeah the huge pencil. I’ve got one of those too. I got it from Disneyland in the school holidays.

And it was over. My moment. My big pencil moment. After that I went back to being a nobody without a pen licence. I guess I should have learned better how to sharpen my pencil.