By hand part 2

It’s been a couple months since I posted about a certain author that I was fascinated with, and how he wrote constantly in journals by hand. While this may be common for many of my favorite authors (such as J.A. Baker and his 6000 pages of journaling which were condensed later into the 200 page book, The Peregrine) most of the authors I read were living before the widespread use of the computer, and Mircea (the author I most recently posted about) is alive and writing today, and still he chooses to write by hand.

It is also shown in many studies that writing by hand activates specific areas of the brain, and in general engages the brain much more than typing does. While I’m not sure if this is the scientific reason or not, it makes intuitive sense that it should be so: typing has been with us for only a breath, while humans have been writing with ink and pens of some form for nearly 5000 years. Though, in the depth of human existence, 5000 years is also barely a breath…

Whatever the biological reason, it seems important for a writer to write by hand. If not their fiction, then certainly their daily thoughts. So, I have been. And this is the reason I have not posted here in nearly three months.

I bought a nice notebook and a nice pen, and have been enjoying it. There is something freeing about writing something you know no one is going to read, except your future self. I like Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s take on it, in his Solitary Walker he mentioned at one point that he was writing for his future self, so that years later he could read back through what he’d written, and feel not so alone, because it would be as if he was conversing with someone else, his old self. Of course, when he was writing that he was not expecting it would be read by millions of people hundreds of years later.

In the end, I’m writing with a pen and paper more often now, because it seems like something the best writers do. I am trying to emulate this aspect of them, whether it is cause and effect, or coincidence, I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out after some years of doing it, whether it’s improved my writing at all.

Either way, I’ll be sure to enjoy it.


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