The book Little Women, and maybe a tad bit of the movie, found its way into my mind last week. Not because of my crush on a youthful Christian
Bale or a younger Gabriel Byrne, (don’t judge me) but I thought about Jo March. She, like everyone else prior to the grand creation of typewriters or computers, wrote everything by hand. Can you imagine writing a novel by hand? What if my annoying little sister (I don’t have one, but let’s roll with this) threw my freshly inked literary masterpiece, bound by string, into the fire in a fit of jealousy? How would I remember the precious details, all the intricate quirks of my characters and the smooth scene transitions? I suppose my lengthy prison sentence for murder would allow time to rediscover my nuances, but honestly, I couldn’t imagine.
So there I was last night, amped to write you and…Wait, my computer needs to update now? How many updates does Windows need? Why can’t it update when it just sits there…without my need to tap away? The update must’ve been epic because it lasted for hours, overnight in fact, but it led me to my next “old-fashioned” moment. Why don’t I just write my blog on paper? I won’t use a quill, but I could be a bit more like Jo.
Besides the fact that paper can be destroyed, which is horrific, it is pretty amazing to utilize when you can steer your hands away from the
keyboard. I’ll never need to charge paper, update it or have an extended warranty on it. Paper is there for you when you need it, anytime of the day or night, during a power outage or jury duty – bound closely with its paper friends with wire or temporarily stacked with adhesive. Pen on paper is a different experience if you cherish the art of writing. So much can be told based on the rhythm and phases the written word takes on as the mind processes and spills out onto the page. The best lines are written with speed, as if the hand is desperate to catch up with the mind. The unfortunate moments of grasping for words are apparent by scribbles and X’s.
Although I wouldn’t be sharing this with you if it was left on paper, the handwritten word is far more personal and romantic. The uniform
characters and clean lines of the computer have all but erased the rhythmic and sing-song-like loops and scribbles, traded in for the errorless spellcheck numbness of Arial on a white background. On paper I felt my thoughts develop more clearly, amongst the arrows and sporadic slashes that gave an overall order to my thoughts. All in all, I found that writing on paper is ageless and might just be something I’ll continue. I think Jo would’ve been pleased.