I’m aimlessly flicking through internet pages. Feeling disatisfied. I don’t even know what I am looking for, but I know there is something I need. What is it?
My eye drops down my screen to my keyboard.
Ah. That’s it.
I want to write. Like an itch that wants a scratch. Writing scratches the itch, but have I lost something in the switch to typing? Is it the same for the reader? Things written by hand make you feel so much closer to the writer, don’t you think?
It has always helped me, to write, whichever way I achieve it. I used to keep journals. One of which I considered, at 16, to hold such sensitive material that I triple bagged it and buried it in the garden at my friend Anna’s house. It didn’t. In retrospect. It makes me smile that I was so anxious not to have documentary evidence… but still couldn’t destroy it! I have almost all of the rest of them. I even have a journal that I wrote to when mum passed away. I couldn’t bear that she couldn’t hear me anymore, so I wrote words to her, just in case she might be able to read them from wherever she had evaporated to.
It worked for a while. And then one day I just knew she wasn’t reading. I stopped writing to her.
Well, not quite. “When I half turn to go, yet turning, stay…” (Christina Rosetti).
I still write in that book once a year. On the anniversary of her leaving. I take it to the place where her plaque is; pull weeds, leave flowers, write words and think about how preposterous it is that I have managed another year without her. The words are usually smudged by the time I am finished telling her what has happened in my year, but they’re out. Sent on their way to find her, if they can.
I don’t keep journals anymore. I blog. Which has a bit more direction, a purpose beyond the navel gazing emotional torrents of my adolescent angst. It keeps me distracted from the ills of being ill; for the most part. Which is interesting because I am generally blogging about being ill! I really love having a place to write, and people who read it. It does my heart good.
But I wonder, will we leave behind any non-digital documents for future generations to find? A sad thought whispers across my mind. Probably not. How will our children find files of our writing if they don’t know where they are stored? If the passwords are gone with the time since they were used? If the technology is obsolete? What will they extrapolate of our personalities from the fonts we chose? Will they see us through the mass produced glyphs on the page?
Writing (and a love of beautiful penmanship) must be hereditary. We’ve been sorting things out in a bit of a Spring thing around here. The hubster hired a skip to dispose of the construction rubbish and then we thought we should do a cull. Nothing like some time pressure to make you ruthless! Getting rid of things is only possible for me if I get to hang on to some things too. Happily, I found just the sort sentimental bits and pieces that rose above the rubble into ‘keeper’ land. My grandmother’s school essay folio was there. Some of my Mum’s old exercise books. Those journals of mine.
I rarely write by hand anymore. Typing is almost a direct conduit from my brain, so it is easier. But I have recently joined a ‘Snail Mail’ collective. Like a group of pen pals who send each other real letters! Astonishing. So I’ve been actually hand writing a bit more lately. Seeing the handwriting of my Grandmother and mother again, makes me think about the importance of writing by hand. About the personality contained in unique letter formation. It’s an art. Individual and special.
When did you last write a letter or a journal entry? Do you think handwriting matters? Do you write like your mother or grandmother? Do you keep cards and written mementoes? Am I a sentimental old fool?