When one has been writing as an almost sacred act since early childhood as I have, it’s hard to feel any of that skill slipping away. I was a journal writer, often writing up to 30 (wretched!) pages a day. From those early journals came some good poetry, some good fiction, and one important way of dealing with the world. My creativity, my secret world, writing. I was a bit arrogant about my journals and more journals and more journals. I fell in love with reading as well and became a double snob–give me books and a pen and I’ll reject much else.
But I only imagined making a living as a writer for a few moments; I am too sociable and loving of creature comforts to embrace the garret. I worked in business for many years, and spent much of my time typing. I then entered teaching, where I spent decades loving what I did, while damaging my hands, shoulders, spine, etc. Ask a long time teacher and you will hear about the toll lugging around multiple heavy book bags takes on the body!
Did I mention I became a reading, English, and ESL teacher? Ask a literacy teacher about the paper load!
My hands, wrists, shoulders, all became damaged by overuse. I could continue to type well, but for some reason, writing by hand became painful and difficult, even after surgery, physical therapy, and more.
Luckily, over the decades, the path from my mind to my hands as they type has become a quick one. One of my jobs in business was to type up conversations as they occurred, so I learned to be “one with the keyboard.”
But handwriting? My old friend? No, that’s a loss to me.
But also a gift to realize not to judge others who need to approach literacy differently than I do. It’s all right to type journals. It’s all right to use the phone to write notes. It’s all right to dictate journal entries.
A decade ago, we moved. The thought of moving TONS of paper with us was causing my aching back and hands to, well–ache! No, I let go of so much paper.
I now read mainly online–horrors! I can carry hundreds of books with me on my phone. While I do miss all those paper texts, it’s more important that I continue to read. I now write mainly by typing.
I miss my old skills of being able to carry around the weight of the world in paper books and carrying my paper journals everywhere.But I admit I certainly appreciate the ability to remain a person of literacy by using technology.
Lessons learned? Don’t be a literacy snob, embrace reading, writing, and language in its many forms.
Just don’t ask me to walk through an office supply store without coveting beautiful journals, pens, and papers.