I love writing by hand, from the heart.
Tapping into that brain/hand connection, and leaving my own unique imprint on paper or card.
Or the back of an envelope as I scribble down a to-do list (I have so many beautiful notepads of varying shapes and sizes, but time and again I return to the freshly-ripped-open envelope as these always seem to be available in abundance just when I need them.)
But as I touched on in a previous post, the digital world increasingly erodes the tangible, physical evidence of living and of life, and with it, the need to write anything by hand.
When I think of the kind of things I physically write on a daily basis:
to-do lists, plans, shopping lists, my diary/journal, a dream I have had, birthday cards, thank you cards, all types of cards, postcards…
I am lulled into a sense of safety on behalf of handwriting, because these things would not easily be replaced by electronic means. Who types up shopping lists? Really?
And what about the thrill of crossing something off the list – there is no better joy than scoring a line right through a task – and the accompanying sense of achievement and accomplishment. To get the same thrill electronically, you would have to highlight the word and use a strike through. Even typing that out is a bore. No thrill there.
Writers though – a term I loosely use to describe myself – often find it quicker and easier to write with the aid of computers and the latest technologies. Most people can type faster than they can physically write, so as the ideas are in full swing, it makes sense to capture them as fast as possible. That makes sense.
But are other people writing diaries and journals? little notes and cards? or does email and social media replace the need to, well, bother?
Writing a diary of course is more of a slow, meditative process, benefiting from the physical connection of thoughts from the brain, down through the arm and hand, into the physical words. And the best way to tap into your ‘inner child’ is to try writing something with your non-dominant hand, because this taps into the childlike memory of learning to write. I’ve tried it. It really does work. Scarily so.
Unless you can actually write well with both hands in the first place.
But as our lives get busier and our digital lives consume us further, will humans gradually (or perhaps quickly in evolutionary terms) one day lose the ability to write by hand? Will there be any need to write by hand? And if no need presents itself, will anyone be left who still wants to write by hand?
This is a concern that seems to be omnipresent, resonating with friends and colleagues alike.
And then I panic that I am part of the last generation who will ever use pen, paper and their own handwriting. In the future, perhaps handwritten notes, labels and diaries will become rare and unfamiliar; fragile reminders of times gone by, specimens of such preserved behind glass in the depths of a museum.
It’s hard to imagine right now, because I don’t think anyone is really keeping an eye out for handwriting. And writing by hand is still going on.
But let’s see where we are in five years time…
This post was written as part of a Blog with Pip blogging challenge set by Kim from i heart tuesdays. The theme was ‘Handwritten’. Read Kim’s post, as well as the response on this theme from others in the group.