I’ve just returned from a beach holiday at Byron Bay in northern New South Wales. The absence of a computer and the desire to spend a week without looking at a computer screen had an interesting and unexpected side-effect: I rediscovered writing. And by writing I mean the act of putting pen (or pencil, sharpie, etc) to paper (or napkin, beer coaster, et al).
Sure, being a member of the illustrious group that is Gen Y means I can type faster than I can write, and computers do allow me to subedit as I go. But there is something very cathartic about writing with real, tactile hand movements. The flow of the pen strokes, the crunch of a new leaf of paper, the thought that so many before me have done the exact thing, and are doing that right now – writing shopping lists, wills, poetry, phone numbers or just doodling.
I’ve always loved looking at other people’s handwriting too. An architect uncle of mine has writing that could easily be framed and hung for its beauty. Barack Obama’s signature is also a little piece of visual beauty, with its bold ‘B’ and confident, flowing letters. And I love those Amex ads that have been doing the rounds, where artists/celebrities/personalities answer a written questionnaire, with the last question being “My card is…” Leading question, I know. Anyway, I couldn’t care about their actual answers, which I’m sure were written by some PR hack, but their handwriting does reveal a lot about the person’s age, education, even their personality.
So – my new month’s resolution is to hand-write all my blog posts (including this one) before typing them for publication. I’m not expecting the writing quality to improve, and I’m certain it will take me longer. However I hope it will allow me to take the time to simply enjoy the wonderful act of writing.