backward-sliding pencil

sisse nar

Senior Member
Hi, everyone.
This is from "Bloodman" by Robert Pobi.

He is a unique and famous painter.
I don't get what "a backward-sliding pencil" mean.

While the rest of them were measuring their progress with a backward-sliding pencil mark on the door jamb of self-parody, he had been reinventing the way people looked at the world.
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    Whoo, difficult.

    The meaning (I would say) refers to the way parents measure their children as they grow up by making them stand by the door jamb and marking how tall they are with a pencil – usually with the date written next to it. In this way they follow their child's growth and progress.

    But that doesn't really help make a lot of sense of your phrase. If the mark is 'backward-sliding' it suggests the opposite of growth/progress. and, of course, it refers to 'the door jamb of self-parody' not a literal door jamb. So, although I don't really understand the image, I'd say it meant that other artists were not progressing, were self-absorbed and going nowhere, while the famous painter is reinventing the way people looked at the world (i.e. making leaps in progress).

    This is pure guesswork on my part, but that's how I would interpret it.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, I'd guess the same. It's the pencil mark that's sliding backwards (except I'd call it downwards, not backwards), and it's made by an ordinary pencil – except that the pencil, the pencil mark, and the door jamb are all figures of speech for growth of careers.
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