Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Writing it out

Over Easter weekend my mother told me that she’s been doing some of her writing by hand. She’s concerned about all the googly rays messing with her aging brain cells. (Alright, so she didn’t say it exactly like that, but her point is: writing is a hard enough proposition as it is without hypnotizing herself in the process.) I had already been vaguely aware of the pixels-dulling-my-brain problem, but up until last weekend I flicked the bothersome thoughts away, because really, what’s a writer/blogger to do? Write with a pen?

Well, YES, as a matter of fact!

Yesterday, just for kicks, I wrote a letter by hand. It took exactly two rough drafts and one final copy, but when I was done, I stood up feeling refreshed, not woozy-sluggish. And now today, I’m handwriting this post.

Writing by hand is hard! After fifteen minutes of making vigorous chicken scratches, my hand begins to ache (though it’s no worse than the kink I get between my shoulder blades when I sit at the computer). And it’s messy, too. I write up the sides of the margins, draw arrows, and cross things out.

But! To contemplate a clean piece of paper instead of all those wavy pixels is wonderfully refreshing! My eyes feel more relaxed and my feeble concentration is stronger—I’m not forever being interrupted by emails and tweets and new blog posts. (No matter how welcome they are, interruptions are just that—interruptions.)

I’ll be the first to admit I love my computer (my children will second—and third, fourth, and fifth—that; they have pointed out, on more than one occasion, that after them, I love my computer best [I’m relieved to see they know they rank first; I must be doing something right]), and I’m not about to give up my computer any time soon. I’m just thinking and experimenting, that’s all.

Do you ever write by hand anymore? Have you noticed the computer muting your brain, zapping your creative zest, distracting you from intense ponderations? We say computers make us so much more productive, and I believe they probably do, but to what degree? Is it worthwhile productivity or just mindless jibber-jabber? Is this blog mindless jibber-jabber?

Never mind. Don’t answer that last question.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to lay down my pen and go type this up.

About one year ago: Coming of age: a tale of homemade Parmesan.

10 comments:

  1. First off, I still think there is nothing like receiving a hand-written letter in the mail (snail mail that would be). There is something so much more acutely personal about that. We save our snail mail letters to reread over and over. Do we do that with our e-mails? No. We write and say things differently when taking the time to write a letter out long hand.

    Until her death this last year, I wrote my dear aunt letters (no computer for her) but found that by typing them out in my word processing program, as opposed to hand writing them, she got longer letters more often. I always felt bad doing it that way because somehow it didn't seem as personal or caring.

    The blogs I read and my blogland friends mean a lot to me. I could be more involved with "real" people (no offense meant, blogland friends) but my lifestyle keeps me pretty busy on the homestead and having the prerogative of fitting in reading and communicating via the Internet when I can and wish is very appealing. Besides that, the wonderful people I have met, gotten to know and relationships formed via the computer are ones that would NEVER have happened without it. And that would be a loss for me.

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  2. I still (hand) write letters to my grandparents every few weeks. They love hearing what we're up to, especially since they had gardens and chickens and canned once, long ago. I enjoy writing those letters so much because they've mentioned (repeatedly) how much they love reading them.

    I also try to hand write personal notes in the cards I send. I'm always a tad offended when I receive a card and the only handwritten word on it is the person's name. I guess I'm picky like that.

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  3. oops, should have hand-written that first, forgot to sign...

    S-

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  4. yup, I keep a daily hand-written journal and my computer geek husband thinks I am nuts.
    yeah, by some far out chance maybe someday someone will key it all in.
    But for me, it works.

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  5. Ok, this has nothing to do with this post, but I just read your twitter about PW's cinnamon rolls- why in the world would you abandon yours (the potato recipe)?! They are divine!! I needed to tell you that. I feel better now.

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  6. I have a friend whose brother-in-law was killed at a young age while on the mission field. She told me they often wish they had hand written correspondence to refer back to. Instead they have nothing. They had deleted the emails after reading them.

    Aunt V.

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  7. ThyHand, I tried PW's rolls because, well, because they look good and everyone raves about them and I didn't want to be left out. They were good, yes, but they were overkill, in a bad way. Bottom line? I prefer mine.

    Val, That almost made me cry!

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  8. I prefer to write by hand. I think it goes back to old school writing essays pre-electric typewriter (yes, I am that old). But for the blog it's soooo much easier to do it all on the computer.

    Send me your address and I'll send you a hand-written note. :-)

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  9. I don't have the patience to write things by hand. The only reason my hand ever touches a pen is that we don't have a printer. BOO.

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  10. thought provoking. I do miss handwriting letters, now that you say that.

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