Thinking about how many college essays I have read this week in the writing center; I am reminded of how little time we as students write with a pen and paper any more. Ink goes on papers with little meaning, often to scratch notes that students will never revisit, or write a name on a paper just so a teacher can put a grade in. Pens have been dissociated from writing personal pieces, academic writing, anything in full. This makes me feel so sad.
Teachers sometimes complain that they can’t read our chicken scratch, but maybe the decline in quality of handwriting is because we started learning to type in first grade, and have since been engaged by our computer screens as the primary source of both our knowledge and platform to write.
I don’t know why I care. Maybe I like pen and paper because I have sensitive eyes and the screens hurt them. Maybe it’s just the fault of my stubborn grandmother, who has told me that her knobby, arthritic fingers were pretty before too many years of holding her pen too tightly. She writes poetry every morning. I have always taken after my grandmother. I know it’s wishful thinking to hope that I am not the only person in my grade to keep a journal. Maybe it’s just the novelty of it all.
When I write on the computer, my right pinky always rests on the backspace, ready to erase words I have written on the screen. With a pen, all I have is more ink to use, there is no impermanence, all the words stay. I think it feels more human, more honest, more of some feeling I seem to really like.
I don’t think I would mind knobby fingers when I’m 80. I wouldn’t mind a reminder of words I have written arising on my hands.