Thursday, 4 February 2010

Pen and Paper

I read an article the other day that urged people to consider setting aside our computer and all the writing habits we associate with it and to write in our journals by HAND.....scary thought eh!

Picking up a pen, allowing our hand to move across the page, engaging the intricately related activities of brain and hand may not produce "better" writing, but it can certainly produce freer writing and, in journal writing, that can quickly lead to insights we seldom expect.

What's more, the article suggested, handwriting can tell a story in a way that print on a screen never can. Like what was happening on the day our writing was so rushed that we can now hardly read it? Or about the day when we took time to draw sketches alongside the writing, or lavishly underlined so many of our words.

After reading the article it occurred to me how vital it is for all of us to spend time in physical activities that connect us with the real, rather than the virtual world.

Observing children, it becomes obvious how great their need is to play in sand, to create a miniature world with sticks and mud, to throw themselves into the ocean, to pick flowers, to dam a small creek, to sleep under the stars or in a tent or to run up a small hill and roll all the way down.

Swimming, running, riding, taking long walks for moment-by-moment discovery and not to get anywhere, listening to and telling stories, playing "make-believe" or playing and co-operating without comparing or needing particular skills; this is the best therapy - the best play, the best fun - any child could have.

A child's longings can't be satisfied by virtual experiences only.

They - and we - need first-hand experiences to feel content and complete.

"Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning."
~~ Maya Angelou - American Poet, b.1928

Sculpture by the Sea, Nov 2003. The artist Phyllis Koshland called this bronze piece "The Swing" and stated 'everyone should have fun with sculpture'.

Sculpture by the Sea, Nov 2003. Artist Willemina Villari called this piece 'The Viewers'.


Aurora said...

A computer or other technological device takes us away from the connection to our humanity. That is why handwriting something - and playing outdoor with or without other children is so important. We need that face to face by the ocean or in the park for example, or hand and pen to paper.
We have lost a lot by sitting inside and ignoring nature and our own hearts in favor of a laptop of gaming device.

A.Marie said...

I totally agree...when I write things down, my brain "feels" so creative and I get alot done. When I am at the computer working, my brain "feels" tired and I soon get tired.

Awesome pictures!! :)

Christine said...

Beautiful sculptures! Good point about us all needing physical activity. We have to find the proper, smaller place for computers and video games as we fill our our day.

Debra W said...

Whenever I am walking on the beach and I see someone reading or journaling on the sand, they always seem so relaxed and connected with their environment. Your wise words carry so much truth!

Lovely sculptures, dear one!

Love and hugs,

Mike Smith said...

Very true, Peggy - very true.

Hybrid J said...

True and well said.

As discovered from my latest artistic adventure, the physical act of picking up pen / brush to draw had allowed me to experience world differently. A sensation which I had forgotten for a very long time due to technology.

Thank you for the gentle reminder. :)

Roban said...

... rolling down hills. How fun is that! We do need to play.... I love to touch and play with papers, fibers, pens, books. And even though I've always been somewhat of a writer, I've never been able to keep journals going. I type so much faster, I prefer typing.... And a bit of me, perhaps, doesn't want my journals lying around. I do still have a little poetry journal I kept when I was a teenager.

I love the sculpture by the sea piece you added to your post. It instantly reminded me of childhood evenings when my friends and I would play frozen statues as lightening bugs flickerd by.

Mommy2Twinkies-Deb said...

Peggy-some great thoughts. I feel much the same way about reading a book rather than using Kindle.

I've always had a hard time writing on paper and find it much easier to write on a computer. Funny, huh? I think on paper, I get hung up on errors (spelling or grammatical...) and I hate cross outs!!!

Each to his own I guess. But I totally agree with your point about needing physical interaction, whatever that may be... sand, exercise, etc. That is the grit of life.

Stoneweaver said...

It is true - there is nothing like a hand-written letter, delivered through the post. Better than a quick email. The other day I sat down to write my mum a nice long letter - and honestly my hand was aching! I am so used to tapping away on a keyboard. Will we one day forget how to write with a pen? Maybe even keyboards will be obsolete one day...

Those sculptures are great - cheeky even ;o)

McMGrad89 said...

I am so busy these days, I hardly find time to comment on my favorite blogs more than to say, "how funny" or "that's pretty," so I often put your aside until I can dedicate a full moment to respond appropriately. I have recently taken up art journaling to combine my love of art and writing. Hopefully, I will have something to share soon.

I must say, I find it harder to write my thoughts on paper than electronically.

Well, I must rush off again.

Patricia Singleton said...

I used to hand write each of my blog posts and then transfer them to my blog. Some articles that I know are going to be emotional to write, I will still hand write first.

I always take a notebook places with me when I travel or to appointments when I have to sit for awhile because of any issues that may come up. I haven't bought a lap top yet for that purpose. Great post.

Mary said...

I find that type-stuff is very stilted because my one fingered technique is too slow for my thoughts. I write more fluently with pen and paper and I suspect, I always will.

MrsPeel said...

I used to write journals in paper, as a matter of fact my pregnancy journal is in paper, with all the photos glued or scotch taped, but then when my condition started to worsen, I not only couldn't read anymore what was written, but also was very difficult to write :(
But I agree... I feel great when I can get out of the computer and enjoy the many beautiful things one can enjoy in the *real world*...

Now, about the children's need for playing with earth elements, the happiness and is a scary thought of the changes this planet of ours is having:
That is changing rapidly.
I see it with my nephews and nieces, I see it with my friends children as young as 3...they can manage the computer better than us, and an Almighty source is needed to get them out of the computers...
Even schools are now getting kids to do homework in theirs, with the teachers grading in it...
Scary, indeed.

miruspeg said...

I have such wise friends!
Your comments always enhance my posts.
Thank you all for taking the time to not only read my posts but enlighten me with your own words.
Please take care and keep shining your light, the universe is a better place because of souls like you.
Big hugs
Peggy xxxx

Cozyflier said...

So true my dear friend. Read my blog, about English. I discovered that my daughter with dyslexia had a very difficult time understanding it because she was not trying to write it!

I'm very happy that the kids still like to go outside and play!


Pink Heels said...

That is an excellent point by Maya Angelou. I am currently developing an interview guide for a research survey. As a team we debated the value of a face-to-face vs. self-guide/pen-n-paper interview. Obviously we all agreed that a face-to-face interview would allow us to capture emotion and other non-verbal cues. Words are just words until you add the person to it...then it has real meaning and depth

(creativeoasiscoach) said...

So glad to be introduced to your blog by Pink Heels (Jennifer). I have a blog @ MidLifeOasis and I'd love you to visit. Seems we have similar musical tastes and similar philosophy on mid-life. If you're interested, please visit my latest project at
All the best from my creative oasis to yours (half a world a way in Dallas, Texas - isn't the internet grand?!) - Jill Allison Bryan

Caroline said...

I think you are right Peggy...I have not put pen to paper in so long! There is something special about letting the pen guide you. Maybe this is just what I need to do. Thank you.


MJ said...

Thanks for popping by my new blog, Peggy! I've been reading your comments for a long time on Anne-Marie's blog but I haven't been out blog-surfing in a long time! Funny how I attribute that to resorting a private blog!

This was a very thoughtful post! I've never thought of how the hand reflects emotion. I then think of how "The Artist's Way" encourages writing by hand as well. I might have to hand-write for more efforts in creativity.

Meanwhile, your post reminds me to continue to discourage my kids from plugging into technology!

Let's all go play!


Marja said...

When I write a story or poem I always use paper. It gives me a sense of freedom In the end it is a mess with lots of lines and arrows and strike through but I know exactly what it says.
For children hands on learning is vitally important. Their brain has to integrate sight with feel, with sound to form a concept to start with. There is so much a brain needs to learn. You only become aware of it when things don't work the way they should. Anyway kids these days miss a part of there
development if they spend from a young age on the computer, which improves the change of learning disabilities

imbeingheldhostage said...

I agree! Completely. My journals have suffered SO much since I started blogging and it's very sad because that is where I would record milestones for my kids.

Have you ever seen the decorated journals or artist journals? It's a creative exspolsion of art, collage, scrap booking with the writing. That has to be good for the soul.
Although blogging has helped the world become a smaller/closer space, I think a lot of us miss living.