I’ve started writing again: outside of the blog, with an actual pen, on real paper. I’ve booked hotdesk space at the writers’ studio as dedicated physical/head/time space to think about writing.
The first thing I noticed on opening my notebook was the familiar and well loved tactile sensation – I have a habit of stroking a flat palm across virgin paper, as though encouraging it to reveal something. Looking back through past missives, I started reading the words with my fingers as well as my eyes, divorcing meaning and structure from the feel of subtle relief – indentations and markings caused by nibs and points. Were it not for these little sensory pleasures, I doubt I would be so inclined to revisit past writing.
In one of the first texts of this newly embarked on journey, I found myself mesmerised by the physical act of writing: the difference that the writing instrument makes (I can match each of mine to a specific mood), the position dictated, and location chosen – even the words selected can be influenced by the manner and method of writing.
Even though I feel like a child of the word processor era, and despite how rewarding I find typing towards a point to be, I feel melancholic about the demise of the hand written word. Handwriting says a lot about people, and those people to whom I feel a great pull have fascinating handwriting. Crucially (being judgmental as I am) I can easily form initial opinions based on handwritten script. Though printed/typed text is a great leveller (and a quick way to get to the core of the text), it feels very impersonal. There’s little trace of the author, and almost no indication of the process of writing.
I’m so absorbed by the journey, the how, the process that I seize any clue as priceless treasure. That’s what handwriting is to me.