Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Let your fingers do the talking

When I was teaching I had a little boy who could not write well.  He had the idea, could formulate thoughts into sentences but something happened on the way from getting the idea from his brain onto the paper.  The pencil just would not move. But put that same boy on a keyboard and the words flew off his fingers as fast as he could type.  I bet he could type almost as well as I could!  I would remark that one day I would find his name on the spine of a book at my local bookstore.  If I did not know that technology allowed this child to access his thoughts and translate them to paper, I would assume he was a poor writer, lacking the skills required for third grade.
I have kept both paper and computerized journals.  I love my paper journals.  I love the look of script writing on a piece of paper.  I love the nostalgia it brings.  Someone reading a type written page is not the same.  But or some reason I cannot seem to keep up a written journal.  While I think I will actually write more..tote it along in my purse...jotting down my thoughts while waiting for my girls to take care of the dog they care for or while waiting for the doctor, that never happens.  Yet every time I take out my old journals and reread them I long to pick up the pen and start again.....
Yet I know I have more success with my computer.  I am more likely to tote around my laptop than I am a journal these days.  Plus I can type much much faster than I can write.  I get frustrated that my pen cannot keep up with the speed of my thoughts the way my fingers can.  And they don’t get as tired....  I can edit quickly, cut and paste my sentences when needed and do not have to worry about crossing out and rewrites.  The major drawback is that my journals are trapped inside my computer.  Last year I wrote over 200 pages in 9 months.  That is a lot of ink and paper.  It is still waiting for me to print.  I need to do this for I fear losing it through a computer error, a crash that would wipe out a year of my thoughts and feelings, my hopes and dreams, my remembrances of family time spent over the course of time.
Then there is my children.  What to do in this age of computers?  I try to balance writing in a paper journal versus saving work to a computerized journal.  One of my girls enjoys keeping a paper journal but the other definitely prefers her computer.  Sometimes I am torn because she wants to write but if I ask her to use her paper journal, you can see the enthusiasm drain right out of her.  I hate that my request to use a pen or pencil made that happen.  The moment was lost.  The piece of writing is still in her head.   Next time that happens I need to let her express herself no matter the form it takes.  Writing is writing, computerized on the old-fashioned way.  I can’t hold my child to a different set of expectations that I held my students in school to.  The little boy that could write brilliant stories only on the computer is no less a writer than my daughter who makes beautiful journal entries complete with illustrations.  I have to remember that when my daughter balks at using a pen and prefers to let her fingers do the talking....


Theresa said...

I've kept a journal since I was 8. Seriously. In junior high I used to write what I wore every day as the first few lines of my journal entry: Outback Red jeans, Benetton sweater, Eastland penny loafers....LOLOL! Then, of course I would go on about boys or teachers or my mom.

My issue with the paper journals is that I have BOXES of them and while I don't want to get rid of them...I don't really know what do with them? The attic?

I feel as though my computer journals are easier to organize and access. I used to use Google docs, so I could access it from anywhere anytime. No issue with crashing because it's not on my computer. Now I use blogger...I have another blog that only blog authors (ME!) can see...I like that I can add pictures or links to it.

A keeps a paper journal because she has a thing for beautifully covered paper journals. P has several jorunals and diaries, but uses them more for doodles than serious writing about feelings.

Karen said...

I am a writer on paper too. I love the feel of it, the smell of newly sharpened pencils, the look of my crooked lefthanded words. Kei doesn't like to write on paper. She prefers to type on the computer.

Like so many things, it seems to be a lost art. Sad isn't it?

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