I love Bette Davis. The other night, I caught her film In This Our Life on TCM. Released in 1942, there is one part where her uncle and father are waxing and waning for the good days. You know the ones. The days of honor, duty, personal responsibility. Some things do not change.
And that, my friends, is how I feel about writing by hand. Just because the world runs on smartphones does not mean we should throw writing by hand out the window, even if elementary schools are throwing it out of the classroom. Allow me to make my case.
As a form of thinking, writing brings clarity. Our written thoughts point to patterns of what we say "yes" to in our relationships and what we say "no" to in our lives.
Are we saying "yes" and "no" in a way that honors our values consistently?
Read aloud. Each word by your own hand validates your unique role in the world.
Writing by hand is tactile. We slow down to form the letter of each word, allowing us time to distinguish between our emotional states, happiness and joy, for example, are not the same.
With typing, the tactile sensation of pushing the keys is the same for every letter. We sacrifice reflection for production.
The 21st Century is the Age of Sharing our Selfies. Every organization and social media service provider uses our personal data to aggregate marketing information and to channel our emotional needs back to us through targeted advertising.
To write by hand is to create a sacred and safe space to be alone with our thoughts and feelings.
In This Our Life was the last novel written by Ellen Glasgow. She wrote 19 novels before this one. Can you imagine it? No computer?! She wrote early drafts by hand. In 1941, Glasgow won the Pulitzer Prize for the novel and Warner Bros. bought the film rights for $40,000.
I rest my case.