Years ago I was obsessed with handwriting! I must admit I love writing with paper and ink. There is a lot to be said from the script. If you are absent minded, it shows. If you are feeling happy, the cursive writing is pure and beautiful. When you are sad, you can detect slow and deliberate lettering. Writing while vexed can look chiselled into a page! A silly mood results in playful stylish curves, going crazy with indentation and sliding down the lines. There is a lot to be said with the stroke of a pen.
Writing with pen and paper was liberating! Best of all, you didn’t need to be at the whim of a battery or plugged into wall. Paper and journals were (are) my most important travel companions. I could sit on the bank by the ocean. It could be a scorching day, my paper and pen still functioned, unlike a temperamental Ipad that cannot take the heat. I could place my sturdy journal on my lap on the plane, even during take offs! Flight attendants were fine with an open journal, but not a laptop or a phone. If I was alone, I could sit at a café, head bent above my journal and no one bothered me. I might glance at other unsuspecting patrons, capturing their mood and conversation on the page and I was rarely caught. Most people assumed I was lost in thought. Every now and then, something beautiful, meaningful or wise would strike me in the middle of nowhere. I would take my journal and pen from my bag and quickly write it down. I couldn’t help feeling smug afterward, knowing it was pure genius to have paper and pen handy.
Today’s question is where do I write today. I have become a curmudgeon. I sit down in my home office in front of my desktop and click away at the key board. I am surrounded by books, notepads, pens, highlighters, binder clips and sticky pads. I feel the connection of the old and new. My recent photos are all on the desktop. Visuals are essential for writing today. I keep my door open so I hear my husband as he busies himself at one thing or the other. He will often walk down the hall, look in at me sitting on my exercise ball below the computer desk and declare lovingly, “Blogger!” He carries on with his project.
Above my computer on the wall are black and white photos of my great grandparents and my beloved grandmother. The pictures were taken around 1883 when my grandmother was one year old. I am unsure if it was the fashion not to smile in those days, or if it was the Baptist way of expressing yourself, but they are three serious people overlooking my endeavours. My grandmother taught me everything I needed to know about life! She was the sunshine and the purpose of my day. I miss her to this very second, but I feel content I can see her everyday and that she watches over me! Behind me is a collage of my father’s parents and relatives. One photo has my paternal grandmother with Taoiseach de Valera. It was a very big privilege to have such a photo, our family pride in a frame. My father’s family has my back! They were formidable Roman Catholics. My father was the eldest of 22 children. They taught me everything from the importance of family to the importance of being dedicated and professional. Knowing they are there watching over my work is deeply comforting.
I no longer carry a large purse or a tote. I do carry a phone. This phone captures ideas quickly and accurately. Photos can quickly be taken of a page in a book. There is no need to painstakingly rewrite the page in a journal. I plug the phone into the desktop and all my photos are securely saved until I need them. But the best feature of my phone is the journal! Once more my electronic journal lets me sit at a café and write a note. I can still write down observations about people, young and old, while looking pensively toward them. So far I have never been called out for writing up my observations. Someday I will use them to inspire me. I hope to make those people proud.
Time will let me fully embrace the excitement of electronic writing, but I am also unwilling to let go the beauty and enjoyment of writing with a paper and pen.