I am very much a paper and ink writer. The liquid ink flowing on the page materializes thought. I write with a fountain pen, not as an affectation. The letters move organically across the page in plowed ruts where weeds strangle sprouting possibility.
This morning I received the print issue of the Weekend New York Times. I stopped delivery of the weekend print issue out of environmental guilt. Trash suffocates the globe – children live and work on it. Their survival depends on and is threatened by toxic trash heaps. I went through the sections, ambivalent until I opened the Sunday magazine.
The tangibility of manifest presence of material objects feeds my awareness of my physical temporality. My hand moves the pen across the page my being in the world interacts with the many forces supporting my existence, a very different experience from my fingers clicking keys. The cursor absent from the thought process liberates my mind to dally.
Experience and perception seem generational. The awareness of community (for many, not all) grows in arable land loaded with nutrients. Class-gender-ethnicity and access to equal education can make the difference between abundance and despair. There are always exceptions, or more accurately there were more exceptions in the glorious heyday of government programs to ease inequality of poverty and racism perpetrated by Jim Crow.
Newsprint inky smudged hands reminiscent of sublime Sundays lolling in sections of news, culture, art, business, woken by the crinkle from dosing off somewhere in the travel. The ink flows like desire from mysterious interior space where colliding images struggle for release at the pen’s tip. The pauses shorter between thoughts formed in written sentences not always grammatically correct often fragments than when I type (as now) on the screen. Perhaps the journal never meant for the reader performs like a laboratory for wild careless experimentation frees the mind from judgment.
The glossy pages of the Sunday Times’ magazine provoke nostalgia for bygone serendipity. Digital space suggests a virtual reality that performs like concrete. I subscribe to too many aggregates and read too much on my various devices with all the ticks of digital distraction. The trail I follow in the hope of gaining the understanding of just what the (expletive) is going on is an endless journey through the repetitive clarity of the active voice.
My addiction to manual tools hints at a narcissistic environment where self-pleasure shapes the letters. I aspired to be an artist but became a designer. The pen and brush are to me first cousins. The page casts back images formed by my idiosyncratic hand often illegible even to me. Ideas bloom like a splash of watercolor hard-edged with nuanced layers that invite self-directed exploration.
Digital links lead me down mind-expanding often distracting rabbit holes. All knowledge informs the downside comes from not stepping out into different realms. The default reasoning for Trump’s victory blames elitism, however “liberal” media at least attempts inclusivity of various opinions. The Times op-ed page often gets in trouble for printing conservatives. Oops.
Does my sentimental affection for pen-paper-print stem from my flower child meandering through loopy associative trips from painting on cave walls, chiseled in stone, brushed on papyrus, rice paper, canvas and spray painted to urban walls, alternatives to the marketing-driven productivity centered psyche? Never have I been so busy with completing nothing tossed from app to device in extreme agitation and fear of the authoritarian corpocracy.
The other day I happened upon a New York Times article, The Case for Using a Paper Planner. Hooked, I spent the rest of the night researching the Traveler’s Notebook. It looks like something out of a nineteenth-century novel thick with intrigue and complexity. There are Youtube how-to videos and how-to websites to explain the slow collection of thin journals, agendas, elastics, charms to personalize each entry.
I struggle to simulate my mind on ink. The hard keys of the board although I sometimes feel like piano keys dull the synaptic fire the way sex with a blow-up doll must. I see my desired reader while the ephemeral connection to writing flickers and the damn cursor nags. I cleared the overwhelming hurdle to transcribe from page to screen.
Oh but the peace of not needing to go to a screen to read. Where in your body do you feel the pleasure of the text both written and digitalized?