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.