Hand Writing: An Endangered Species?

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The room was long and narrow. One table sat in the middle and occupied most of the area in the room, leaving enough space, however for a small couch.  A few people sat on the couch, but most of us, for obvious reasons, sat at the table.  While we were waiting for the seminar to begin, one person sitting next to me, upon seeing my pen and notebook, said, “Shoot. I forgot to a bring pen.” “Here. You can borrow mine,” I said. “That’s okay,” he said. “I don’t need it. I’m so used to bringing my laptop to class I almost never think to carry a pen.” “Hhmm. And now with PDA’s and these new cell phones,” I said, realizing something I’ve never thought about before, “I guess there’s really no need for people to carry pens around anymore.” “You’re right,” he said. “Come to think of it, I often take notes on my phone as well, especially in church.”

I realized, at this point, that hand writing is becoming a lost art, albeit slowly.  I wonder if there will ever come a day when hand writing becomes extinct. If we are allowed to live on this planet long enough, I think it will. No longer do we need to write anything on paper. Laptops and cell phones are becoming extensions of our own bodies it seems like. Pens almost seem obsolete–taking notes on our phones, typing papers on our computers, sending emails instead of letters… we can even print off shipping labels if we want to.

And yet, there is something beautiful and artistic about hand writing, be it printing or cursive. Printing has a sort of rudimentary intrigue about it. It is rough and friendly at the same time. Cursive, on the other hand can be smooth and poetic. Cursive, especially the older styles, are a higher art form than print. But what is most important, I think, is that both styles of hand writing are personal. Typed words are good, don’t get me wrong, but they are too perfect. Hand written words, on the other hand (no pun intended), are less so. This imperfection, in my opinion, is part of the beauty of it, and why I generally prefer hand writing over typing in some cases. There are certainly exceptions, but in principle, when I can, I often prefer writing with pen over keyboard (I purposely own a cell phone that does not allow me to do much more than make phone calls). Though I find hand writing fun, perhaps the biggest reason why I prefer this over typing is that it reminds me I still make mistakes, that I’m not perfect; it reminds me that I’m still human.

And that is a very important thing to remember, no matter what you do. In spite of, and especially when, people start putting expectations on you, remembering that you are human, that you are not perfect, will ease tons of pressure off you and you’ll be able to enjoy what you’re doing so much more. I am tempted to apply this specifically to writing, but it really goes with whatever you do, whether you write, build, cook, run a business, preach, or just live your life. We should all certainly strive for perfection, but failure is good to, if for no other reason than it reminds us we are not God.

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