Stop Diabetes

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Written Word - Obsolete?

I just read 12 Things That Became Obsolete This Decade on Huffington Post.  Many of the 12 items listed, truly have run their course and I'm more than happy to part with them.  I'm fine without junk mail, address books that were outdated the minute you wrote in pen, and dial-up internet service. There are also two items I really have a hard time giving up.

The first item that really caught my eye is the encyclopedia.  I agree that most information is now researched over the internet far more often than we would use an encyclopedia set. But, the thought of encyclopedias becoming obsolete, lead me to think of books in general.  I read another report this week that this was the first year Amazon sold more ebooks than regular books the day after Christmas.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of Kindle and the like.  I actually bought my DH a Sony eReader Touch for Christmas.  He travels 3-4 days a week and is always trying to squeeze 3-4 books in his carry on bag.  He now has the capability of carrying 350 books in one device.  However, there's just something magical about holding a leather bound book in your hand.  The smell of the pages, the crack when you first stretch the binding, the way the standards are sewn tightly in place.  My family will tell you, I'm not a big reader. . but, there's just something about a hard bound book that I can't explain.  I even learned how to bind books so I can use that skill in my scrapbooking/papercrafting business. To think that you can fit the story of one's life, the passages of time, dreams for the future and hauntings of the past in those pages, locked between two covers of savory smelling hide. It's magical.

Another item listed as obsolete in this report was the handwritten letter.  As I write this blog, on the computer, out on the world-wide-web, I know that I am as guilty as the next person in allowing this art form and conveyor of heart and soul to disappear.  Really, if you want to 'Wow' me, write me a letter.  There is nothing more personal, more intimate than a handwritten letter.  It is a true gift to take the time to precisely write your thoughts, dreams, love, prayers, hurt, excitement with your own hand.  The scribbles, underlining, scratching though and rewritten words are precious and each one thought out and purposed.  If you are taking time to write with a pen. . oh my, the value increases exponentially.  When receiving a handwritten letter, you know that person has thought, re=thought, worded-reworded and made sure that each word was exactly chosen to convey just the right feeling, mood and conversation.  If it's written in pen, you can't take it back, there are no do-overs, unless you trash the whole thing and start over.  Having a delete button makes it so easy. . so sterile.

As I teach scrapbooking classes, one of the earliest lessons I share is to use your own handwriting to jot down notes on the pages, journaling blocks and label the pictures.  Someday, your grandchildren will be so grateful to have SOMETHING with your handwriting on it.  I don't have anything like that. . but, I can certainly imagine how it would feel to stumble across an old recipe written with my grandmother's hand, a to-do list penned by my grandfather, or notes in the margin of a Bible or study guide.  Looking at something so simply written, you can see the person sitting at the table, jotting down notes, thinking about their day, then shoving in a pocket.  But, just for that moment, they're there and they're real and they're yours.

I don't really know how to close this post tonight except to say. . I hope we never lose our wonder of the written word, or the hand that wrote it, or the way in which it was delivered.  It would be a shame to have our libraries replaced with docking stations and to never receive a note of thanks or encouragement, handwritten in ink would be a true loss.  So I send you this tonight as my gift:

No comments:

Post a Comment