Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Write Way

I figure I should start getting used to typing my thoughts out, even though it feels inorganic. There is something about having a pen in hand (Pilot Ultra Fine V5 writes like butter) and using it as your prophet delivering messages from that cerebral stream through your limbs and fingertips and finally to Earth (or cardboard coaster, or napkin, hell, sometimes my own hand).

A complete and natural flow.

Though many thought it was a complete waste of time, especially when I would have to write 10 page papers, I felt more involved in my writing. Rather than staring at a blinking cursor and deleting random jabber in a blink of an eye, writing something by hand is also an art. A person's handwriting is another a fingerprint: a slant to the left denotes emotional repression. A slant to the right reveals emotional expression. And what if your letters are perpendicular? You're in balance, my friend. This is all theory of course - but there must be some truth between the slants.

There is also the typewriter. That clicking sound and the way you can see the mechanism of a key sending a stamp to your paper keeps you close your art. You roll the paper in. Lock it in. And if you're lucky, you get a happy little ding! moving to the next line. Like your own personal cheerleader telling you to Keep Going!

I had a professor who only communicated to his students through this antiquated machine. No computer, no e-mail, no digital communication. A copy machine was about as modern as he got for dispersing his thoughts to his 200+ students.

One night, I was scribbling away on a paper that was due the next day. I wrote in pencil this time -- my version of having a cursor. Come 3 AM I decided it was too late to type it out (the thought of staring at a computer for another hour made me even sleepier) and I decided to type it right before my 8 AM class.

Disclaimer: I am not a morning person.

I ended up running to class, my 3-page essay written on college ruled paper, smeared with pencil and eraser marks in my frozen hands. As I stumble down the stairs to his podium, hair disheveled, and nose bright red from sprinting in the morning chill, I set my crumpled heap on top of the neatly typed, crisp, white essays. He stares at this rumpled mess in front of him and then glances at the eye sore that is my paper. “I’d prefer it if you type it next time," he said curtly.

I remember feeling embarrassed for being a nuisance. “Oh well, at least I’ll find my paper easier than everyone else!” I thought optimistically (or perhaps a ploy to bury my embarrassment).

And I did find my paper with ease, along with a note that said “I see why you wrote this way. You have my permission to write this way for the rest of the semester. In doing this you have invoked your power. Power is useless without the ability to use it.”

To this day, he still writes me on his typewriter and I still write him by hand (I have since upgraded to a pen this time).

So, here is the beginning of my attempt at drafting my thoughts out via some keys and a mouse.

But my pen will always be in arm’s reach. 

Cheers, Professor R.W.