Not everyone likes to write … I mean really write, the action of placing words on a surface, the smell of ink and paper, the way a line forms on the page, the feel of the pen or pencil in your hand …. As sensual beings, sound, touch, sight, taste and smell are so much more keenly appreciated when conversing with someone rather than corresponding, and the experience of writing, a chore. And yet, that action of bringing words into being on a surface, shaping and reshaping, forming pictographs and then words and sentences … has held mankind in awe for thousands of years.
Though the physical act of writing has changed, the same fascination remains and that same metaphysical force inspires. Where nothing existed, now something does … more and more writers being brought onto pages in history and perhaps, or not, lost in the annals of time. We experience with our senses and we appreciate by creating. We define our lives, in a sense by sharing our experiences and, as we do, we become part of the greater fabric of life… metaphysically speaking, an act of nature.
While technologies advance, we find more and more people texting over calling, not only because it’s cheaper but also faster and more efficient. More can be said, developed, accomplished and everything moves faster. There is no more or less misunderstanding proportionately … it merely means there is more input and therefore more to learn. Everyone is being forced to keep up or be left behind … and no one really wants to feel alienated, though many are … in a race with no road signs and often, more than not, alone and feeling more and more disenfranchised by the pace.
Why is there this pervasive sense of emptiness in cyberspace moving hand in hand with an overwhelming desire, almost addictive, to continue at breakneck speeds? We know that satisfying things by nature come at length when we take time to savor them. Even so, we move to use the most efficient methods with a sense of urgency … going where?
My own desire to paint, to write comes from a deep metaphysical need to express those things that filter through me and cry for expression, like a child that cannot sleep for love of play. Having been an artist all my life using a pencil before I could walk, I find joy in the act itself of writing, but I also find the words, the language and the nuances intriguing and have always taken my time to develop those expressions.
I find the draw into cyberspace, not only necessary these days, but powerful for the vast sources of knowledge and the efficiency of communications. At the same time, though, it seems to leave less time or inclination to develop one thing well, since there is so much beckoning. As a consequence, I worry that the more subtle and most beautiful things in life will be missed in the race to embrace everything … much like a child that has too many toys.
As we move into a future that no one can predict, or understand, we move closer to understanding through our experience of these technologies. We exist and where that takes us we learn with every step. Communication through writing has figured powerfully on that journey.
Anita S Tillemans
Johns Steinbeck’s speech for the nobel peace prize for literature and his view on writing::