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The Lost Art of Hand Writing
Stone, clay, copper, silver, parchment and papyrus were all used to write upon during biblical times. I can’t even begin to imagine the tedium in writing just a quick note to a friend. If I had to produce the clay or cut down the reeds to make the papyrus, I would probably forgo any written communication. I’ve read it took Paul, or Paul’s secretary, when writing to the Thessalonians, about 11 sheets of papyrus and 20 hours to complete. Let’s put that more succinctly. If when I finish this blog, and its approximately 500 words, then it would take me more than 4 to 5 hours to finish. Good grief, Charlie Brown! I will try never to complain again about having a writing deadline.
Of course that informational excursion led me to ponder how beautifully our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written. The penmanship was almost like a piece of art. Again, I wonder how much writing would I, or could I do with my carpel tunnel wrist, if I had to handwrite with quill pen and ink? Hmm? When typewriters were invented the ease of writing became much more fluid. I have to admit I own 2 of them. I will pound at the keys just to hear the lovely clickety click, but again, much more time consuming than a computer. The ease of writing has made written communication quicker and more immediate, but what has been lost in the translation of being expedient? When I read texts, mine included, I sometimes gasp at the errancy of it all.
When once in a blue moon, which by the way happened last month, I receive a handwritten letter, it’s almost like receiving a Christmas or birthday gift. I know it took effort and time and care. I can picture the individual sitting down and thoughtfully creating the words as they move their pen along the page. It’s like seeing a bit of history in the making. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for my laptop and for the multitude of blogs and books and articles I can read and or write at the push of a button, but some days I long for a beautiful well thought out hand written note. Imagine the world without the 278 written words that began with, “Four score and seven years ago…” When I see the original online version, I try and picture Lincoln on the long train ride to Gettysburg and wonder about all the thoughts going through his head in that moment. That doesn't seem to happen too often when I’m reading things written in Times New Roman or Sans-serif.
After all is said and done, I will continue to open up my laptop and tap away, but every once and a while, like this afternoon, I think I will pull out a piece of pretty stationery and write a quick note to a friend or relative. Write on dear friends; write on.
Writing: A Gift From the Lord
Writing. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me to put my thoughts on paper is a driving force. However, if no one reads my words, is it like the proverbial tree in the forest – when it falls, does it really make a sound? If no one else reads my words, then what good are they? Do they make a difference? Perhaps every writer, famed or not, feels this way.
The Lord provides each of us with gifts. The bible even makes a list. Romans 12: 6-8 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Great writing, I believe, is a gift from the Lord, but doesn’t meaningful writing from the heart have its place too? If we believe we have some modicum of talent, and we believe we are the Lords creation, then shouldn’t we use that talent? I ask this of myself quite often. I hold no awards, no accolades from prominent publishers, not even a book deal, but yet I strive on. And to what purpose I ask myself? In the end, I suppose, I write not for scads of money or fame…thank goodness, since I haven’t acquired either…but because I cannot not write.
Aristotle once said, “The exercise of vital powers, along lines of excellence, in a life affording scope.” Like many, I assume, I am driven to write, to exercise my vital powers regularly. I have a blog. It’s an outlet to express my beliefs and emotions, but there’s another more important reason. I pray that just one person will glean something meaningful from my ramblings. I like to imagine my words moving my readers, whether to laughter or tears or to simply ponder life more deeply. I want to know they are making a difference; perhaps I even need to know they are making a difference. A hundred or a thousand years from now, if the world still exists, will any of my words be quoted like Aristotle? Even if I believe the answer to be no, it won’t stop me. And I pray it doesn’t stop any writer from striving for the possibility. For now, I pray everyone endeavoring to reach others through their words finds success in a way that best suits them. Whether it is fame, or fortune, or fulfillment, or one more friend on their blog page. For now, in such a time as this, it is in placing the words on paper that keep my dream alive and therefore hopefully, builds the dreams of others. Write on dear friends. Write on.