It is one thing to sit at a computer and type words on a screen. I will admit that takes discipline and a mind for creating something out of nothing, but putting ink to paper seems like more to me.
I know I tend to glamorize the past, but when Jane Austen sat down to write she used a quill and an ink well. Her hands, stained with ink, ran along the parchment as she released her stories. Each letter was crafted, unique. Real organic, finger aching work was put into each phrase. I’m sure she wrote by candle light or a fire. Is that why her writing flies off the page? Was she rooted in the elements and more connected than I will ever be?
Writing is work, no matter the tools, but I wonder if the ease with which we communicate these days moves us farther and farther away from the essence of word craft. Does it even still count as a craft if my fingers fly across keys and I can change my mind by simply backing out? Was it better back then, when men and women sat down to write a letter or a poem, even a book? Did they feel more? Did they choose more carefully their words were sealed in rich dark ink?
I think they did. It seems more desperate, romantic. I know I could break out the antique ink well and nibs Michael so lovingly bought me for Christmas and pretend, but it’s not the same. While I will cherish the gift, it doesn’t bring me to a time when that was the only way I had to express myself. I know too much now, I like my Mac and I can’t go back.
I suppose I could notice that progress allows for faster, more efficient writing that is distributed in mass and read by millions, but I don’t. Today I’m lilting and whimsical for a time I will never experience and I believe that it is my soul’s great loss.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Back to Bed.