The Dancing Puritan

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Shedding Tears Over Spilled Ink

Does anyone write letters?  I mean, do they write letters to friends with pen and paper? They must. Pens and paper are still sold in stores around the globe. The post office is still open (barely). Occasionally we get a hand written letter here at our home. Such a treat is rare. I had a friend tell me that whenever he gets a letter or card written with a fountain pen, he keeps it. He considers that the author of the letter must have really cared when he wrote the letter. My friend loves fountain pens and associates thoughtfulness with them.

I wear a lot of hats with my work. I am a pastor, author, itinerant preacher, and I own a bookshop. All of my jobs require writing. Most of my writing is actually typing on my 13 inch MacBook Pro.
However, I keep several journals that actually contain real paper and I use a real pen (several actually). My handwriting is not great; therefore I am considering a plan to change that. My plan: 1. Read some books on handwriting. 2. Get some workbooks to practice. 3. Write more by hand. May I insert a suggestion at this point?  To all parents, teachers, students--don't neglect the early years of learning. I was born a daydreamer. Somehow I passed my elementary classes but I missed out on a lot. It is my entire fault. I should have been listening. But I imagined, like many students today, that I would never use that school stuff. I was wrong. Learn to read. Learn to write. Learn early and keep at it.

You may wonder if I am planning to travel back in time. Well, yes I am, sort of. I have thought a lot about vision over the past several years (11 to be exact). If I am going to be a visionary person, then I must not only look forward, I must look back. Looking back is where fundamentals live. Fundamentals are the building blocks of life and are required for future success. Looking back is also a very unselfish thing to do. Think about it. The world existed before you were born. The folks who lived before you made a deposit. They sent their deposit to the history bank and you are allowed (and should be often required) to make a withdrawal. The history bank has a lot of lessons that were forged in study and by experience. Can you take a brain leap for a moment? Imagine that it is actually possible that ancient handwriting with ancient tools have something to say to MacBook Pro writers.

Now I am not saying that we need to pick up an ancient chisel and carve our messages on a rock. But what can we learn from those cave carvings? What can we learn from ancient scrolls? What can we learn from the first pen and paper scribble? Would the world have been better if our ancient forefathers had been born with a Macbook Pro and the Internet? Would the Macbook Pro exist without knowledge of rock-carvings?

We are connected multi-generationally via high technology and low technology. The low gave us the fundamentals for the high. The high gives wings to the low. Your pen and paper are ok with you using a computer and harnessing the power of the Internet. They would, however, like to be acknowledged every once in a while. And perhaps your friends would not mind being thought of beyond a quick email. They might feel better loved if they got a piece of paper from you, stained with ink.

We sell TWSBI pens and journals at our bookshop. I love their mission statement: To inspire and recapture the romanticism of art and literature…starting with the pen.

That statement indicates that the folks at TWSBI believe that something precious has been lost. They think that the pen is a key tool in the recapturing of lost territory. I think that they are right. What about you?