« Start Making Sense | Main | Almost Too Beautiful »

September 19, 2007


Wow -- blogging to the rescue!

I love flicking through pages of writing, stumbling across things with the flip of a hand. I have three years' worth of Planethalder I want to print out and file so that I can browse it at leisure if I choose, alongside the more private handwritten journal I also maintain. Moreover, I see the printed word as a legacy to my future children. But the thought of printing it all out daunts me. Has anyone here printed out their blog?

Do you still miss that fat envelope, Beth? Much as I cherish the ease of email, I do. Maybe we sentimentalists should eschew email for a month & write each other longhand letters in black ink from italic pens...

Many happy returns of the day, as I think Owl said to Winnie the Pooh ...

I used to think it was a shame to type a letter, but I did all the time after I learned to type because my handwriting was and is wretched and I am not proud of it (besides, being lefthanded, my hand drags in the ink no matter how I try not to keep from smudging). Annie's fifth-grade teachers are telling her now that she must do her work in cursive, but her fourth-grade teacher never covered the skill, being too buried in achievement-test requirements to get into niceties. Wednesday we spent the entire evening writing out five sentences, partly because we were having trouble shaping an "s" and a "p," (the capital "G" was beyond us both) and partly because one of us was trying to make a point about "I can either make it neat or make it fast ..."

I brought along some worksheets on cursive writing, two grammar books and a novel. All of them proved useful -- every three paragraphs or so of the novel, I would issue a reminder about focusing on the work and not on dissecting pens, bouncing balls or capturing bugs, to the end of making the point that the task would get done no matter how late it got. Curiously, the second and third pages of this really dismal chore -- nothing has changed in elementary education since Dewey's day, whatever claims you hear to the contrary -- got done a lot faster than the first one.

I was pleased to have my patience rewarded. However, I did have some quiet fantasies involving that fourth-grade teacher and a dull spoon.

As always your post has gotten me thinking. Much as it is important to embrace the truth that life is ephemeral and that everything eventually passes, and the internet and email, like oral conversation, embody the transient by their very lack of physical substance, I can't help but wonder what kind of legacy will remain once we are gone. All these conversations flitting across the planet in silent cacophony, but there is nothing we touch and say, "See, here? This is what I did!" What is that difference between a writer of letters or one of books or one of letters? Will there ever be truly great blog writers, ones we cherish the way we do the great classical writers? Or, if we abandon book and letter writing, will we then lose the satsifaction of holding in our hand something which starts at the beginning, runs through a middle, and comes to an ending? Blogs and email are neverending; there is never any climax and coming to rest. And nearly all of it is done anonymously and unseen.

For reasons which remain opaque to me, this post keeps reappearing in my aggregator... perhaps it's the universe's way of encouraging me to write more paper letters! :-)

Beth, I hear you! Your words have been lingering in my mind, and today while I was emailing a friend, I thought of them once again. I've thought of printing many of the favourite emails though many have been lost, as well as printing my blog, but it certainly would be a huge endeavour in time and effort!

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.