Scribbling, Scratching and Pecking Along
There’s something so wonderfully tactile about writing with a pen. I even still use a fountain pen regularly. It’s not some big statement about longing for the past, I just like using it. I like the way the ink looks on the page. I like the way the way the point acts as a tool for feeling the texture of the paper. And they look cool, too.
It’s been a struggle for me to get into any kind of groove when it comes to writing on a computer. I’ll do what I have to for work and I can send out an email but even that is often difficult. It’s been over thirty years since I discovered the solace that writing can provide. The comfort and release I get from writing is deeply rooted in both getting the thoughts down on paper and the physical act of writing.
Typing is also a physical act but it’s different. I don’t feel like the electrons are flowing out of my hands the same way that I feel the ink is flowing onto the paper. I enjoy typing and it has its own physical pleasure associated with it. Typing to me feels more like efficiency and progress and, believe me, there’s always room for more of those in my life. But, I can’t distance myself from all the machinery and technology and wired-ness of writing on a computer. So as much as I like it, it can’t really replace the intimacy of sitting down with just a pen and paper and clearing my head.
What I’m working on now, is accepting that both handwriting (although, actually I print) and typing can have important roles in my life. It’s become a lot easier recently to go back and forth. Oddly, as I write more on the computer, I’m also making more time to write in my journal. The thing I’m trying not to think about and that is staring me in the face — in the form of a big stack of notebooks across the room — is will I ever type up much of what I have written in the past? I know there’s some good stuff in that stack but the thought won’t even stay in my mind more than a few seconds. I’m not allowing myself to think about the full implications of having to mine and bring to the surface any “gems” that may be buried there.
So realistically, I think that a certain amount of my writing from the past may just have to stay there. In the future, though, I have a feeling it will be easier to type up things that have been freshly handwritten. I’m currently working on a story in one of my notebooks that I’m looking forward to typing up, so I know it can happen.
In conclusion, just as with reading (see previous post), what I’m learning to like most about new versus old technology is the way they can live side by side and compliment and augment each other. I have a feeling next week’s installment may end a little differently.
Next Sunday: Pulling out all those old cameras and shooting up a storm!
And in case you missed last week’s post, you can catch up here: Still Searching for Paths…
You’ve written a very thoughtful post on the passion for writing, including the act itself. I personally write longhand in my ‘reading’ journals. I don’t have technology in my reading room, and like it that way. So I understand the dilemma. One is certainly more convenient, perhaps faster (that being using a computer) but the other is preferred, an activity to be savored, like a sweet dessert.
I actually can also identify with your having an extensive amount of writing never put onto a computer. I began writing long before computers came into our world. I used books, but did get into using typewriters, eventually. Now I have folders of stories I’ve written that have never been put onto a computer. My greatest reason for wanting to do that is my fear of losing them in some ‘natural’ disaster. I can’t get back pre-technology gems if I don’t take the time to make other types of copies of them. Granted, computers pose their own problems, like moving from docs from an old Vista to the currently new WIN 8 and not have the compatibility.
Thank you for bringing me to the forefront of a world I’ve been avoiding. It is definitely food for thought.
P.S. I LOVE your CIRCLE of LIFE option at top!
I think it’s wonderful that you have a technology free reading room. What a great idea! Have you thought of at least scanning the most important pieces from your “old” technology writing days?
Now there’s a thought! I had not, probably because my computer doesn’t work with my scanner, but I can use it with my hubby’s computer.
Your big stack of notebooks sounds like a wonderful resource. Even if you never get round to typing them all up, at least you can browse through if you’re ever looking for inspiration and perhaps share an idea or two here!
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