We sometimes talk about the two deaths: spiritual and temporal. I recently heard a Church Historian and Genealogist talk about a third death- Historical. We can die, as far as our descendants are concerned, if we don’t leave any records behind. I was pretty intrigued by this thought, and in pondering it I started to think a lot about creating records and documents, and the process which we use to make them.
So, what do you use to write?
1) My trusty old keyboard. This one is from my laptop, and you can see where the different keys have been worn down. I have no idea how many hours I have spent working on my computer keyboard, typing out things from the serious to the silly, and the simple to the sublime. Things like this Blog, letters, school papers, and some journal entries are things that I will use my keyboard to write. Sometimes I have no idea where I’m going to end up when I start typing on here! I can predict, however, that I am going to spend a LOT of time at the keyboard this semester as I try and write my masters thesis. Wish me luck!
2) My 1910 Underwood Typewriter. This was my Christmas present from my in-laws in 2009. It weighs far to much, and still could use some more lubrication (the letter bunch together on the right side of the page, and the e key still sticks a bit). Shortly after I got it I cleaned it up and fixed it up, and even bought some new ink tape for it (they still sell a generic spool that fits it!). I love my old typewriter. It actually takes me a bit longer to type on it than it does to hand write a note, but it makes a pretty cool effect. Since my handwriting is pretty bad, I enjoy sending cards and envelopes typed up with my typewriter because it makes it legible, but still personal. If you ever get a note from me typed up on my Typewriter, know that you are pretty special!
3) My pencils. Pencils come in all kinds, from my favorite mechanical pencil (on the top) that I use to make small notes in books and write things that pens and other pencils are too blunt to do, to good ol’ reliable #2 pencils that are great for taking tests, having on hand in case you don’t have anything else to write with, and for pulling out do do a crossword or a Sudoku. Now, while pencils are great, they are made much better by the fact that they often come with a little thing called an eraser. I have no idea what I would do without an eraser- it’s like a delete button that you can carry around with you in your pocket! Now if I could only figure out way to install a spell checker on my pencil…
4) My pens. I have lots of them, actually far too many of them. Some of them are pretty nice (like the ones on the side), and I like to keep them where I can find them [Note: Brooke lent me some of these for the photos only. I had to turn them back in right away]. Others are just pens that I use to write whatever I need to. There are pens with caps on them (my least favorite), pens which click (fun, but I drive people nuts because I tend to click them repeatedly when I get nervous), and the best kind (pictured on the side): twisting pens! Someday I hope to get a fountain pen (maybe I’ll buy one as a graduation present for myself), but for now I’ll just stick with my trusty mid grade ball pens.
By the way, have you ever heard the story about the “Space Pens” that NASA developed during the heyday of the space race? Apparently, ballpoint pens won’t work without gravity (that explains why I have problems sometimes when I’ve left them upside down too long), and fountain pens live up to their name a bit too much in zero gravity. Confronted with this challenge, NASA engineers responded in very American fashion- they refused to give up. They spent lots of money to create a pen that could write in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, over wet and greasy paper, at any angle, and in extreme temperature ranges. The Russians, on the other hand, just took pencils! [Note: after typing this up, I read the article here on Wikipedia and found out that it’s not entirely true. But, I’ve already typed it up, and it’s pretty funny, so I’ll leave it up to you to find out the more accurate, though less amusing, story].
5) Now for the thing that I wish that I would use more in my writing: my Journal. Sometimes it is so easy to keep ourselves caught up in the moment and momentum of our lives that it is easy to forget that we will probably forget what it was like. I wish that I had kept a better journal as a missionary, as an undergrad, and now as a married graduate student. Heck, I’ve only written in it once so far this year, but it shouldn’t be hard to beat my record last year of 10 entries! Sure, letters on my computer, blog posts on here, etc. kind of count as Journal Entries of a sort, and I really should compile them so that they are all together. But in addition to these, I’d like to make my resolution now to record something at least once a week of what I’m doing, feeling and thinking.
So, what do you write with? And what do you write about?