Tag Archives: Center for Investigative Reporting

Pencils for Sale

This Machine Kills Fascists Pencils

In early 2017 I started selling pencils as a fundraiser, with proceeds from the first batch set to go to the Center for Investigative Reporting in Emeryville, CA. I didn’t make a big fuss about it here, partly because I didn’t know how the idea would be received.

Things have been going pretty well.

My first batch of pencils sold out in about a year. I sold a handful to friends, but the orders largely came from complete strangers. At first I got about one order a month, with one person buying a third of my stock at once to take to her author events.

Earlier this year I got a second batch—blue this time—and orders have only picked up. My designated organization for this batch is Oregon Public Broadcasting.

The first recipient organization didn’t get their proceeds as promptly as I intended, but about a month ago I put their check in the mail along with a set of ten pencils they could share with their staff.

Then last Monday, I checked the mail to find an unexpected squishy envelope. It was from the Center for Investigative Reporting! Inside was a jaunty card filled with a handwritten note and a long-sleeved T-shirt that simply reads FACTS in block letters. I was smitten, and tried it on immediately.

FACTS T-shirt

Turns out it’s too small, but at least in the moment that didn’t matter. I wore it proudly, vowing to just not look in the mirror while doing so. (Will it remain wearable after the laundry? Only time will tell.)

While I was feeling so bad about getting their proceeds to them, they were just grateful for the unexpected donation that came with a good story. And I was equally delighted by their acknowledgement.

Since sales of the new batch have been more brisk than the prior, I’m nearly to the point where I need to order a third batch. I think I’ll keep this fundraiser going until I feel like the national threat of fascism has died down. With any luck that will be no later than January 2021.


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