With just a little effort, I could go paperless at work.
I could bring my laptop to meetings and type up my notes instead of writing them in a notebook, like many of my co-workers do. Already, most of my copy editing is done in Microsoft Word using “track changes;” it’s less and less often that I mark up a hard copy and hand someone my suggested changes. And at work, we almost (almost!) have software that allows us to easily annotate and edit magazine page layouts PDFs right on the screen.
I look at the laser printer on my desk and think, “Boat anchor.”
But I ask myself: Do I want to give up pens, pencils, and paper? Do I want to give up handwriting?
The answer is no–or at least, “not yet.”
I have worked too hard to regain my writing to give it up so easily. (You can read about that here.)
And there is something about moving a pen or pencil, gripping it and balancing it in your hand, that seems so much more alive than typing onto a screen does. Our hands are amazing instruments that can perform many, many tasks. They can hold, pinch, grip, push, pull and more. When we use them for simply pushing down keys–or just touching a flat, smooth screen–it seems to be sad compromise of convenience. (And besides, you can’t doodle in the margins of your computer.)
Maybe I am being old-fashioned, or maybe it’s just that writing and drawing have become intertwined for me. After all, what’s the difference between writing a letter beautifully and drawing it?
Either way, with just a bit of friction, ink or pigment is left on paper. Simple lines combine to become ideas and images with a life of their own. It’s intense. It’s delicate. And either way, it’s art.