We live in a digital age, with smartphones, bluetooth enabled cars, and screens just everywhere. And I’m not about to whine about it! The freedom we have of access to information, news, imagination and even scientific breakthroughs only dreamt of. But I fight with myself about paper vs. digital creating. Clearly tonight and in this medium, in this space I type. All day long most of us type our work, our emails, our projects. But we pull out pens to do certain other things. For me, it still means so much to me to longhand the most precious moments.
Like writing a card to a friend for her birthday. I want that in my handwriting – which by the way is getting worse. But that colors the sense of what is being said, as well. Have you ever written a long paper or a letter from tension or anger and seen your handwriting actually transform as you relaxed? I have.
I keep my calendars, email, and everything organized like most people on a laptop and cellphone, yet there are still things that must come down to paper. But paper has frailty. For one thing, journaling on paper means that there is a physical book that sits publicly in the world with private meaning. Yet this is part of the mattering. Committing words to literal print, carving lines in slippery wood, means taking chances. After all, even what I am writing in this moment could be deleted with a few whispered strokes. Destroying paper words takes much more intention.
I love to build a thought out of pictures and lines too. This is probably why I continue to be committed to paper for journaling – because if I could graphically grow the thoughts that come out of me when I study scripture, I guess I might do it digitally. But that’s a gift I can’t get fast enough to spill out the words. To me electronic lines and words could never be fast enough to capture the truth as it falls out of my fingers. But that’s just me.