“Writing this book, I’ve come to the conclusion that handwriting is good for us. It involves us in a relationship with the written word which is sensuous, immediate, and individual. It opens our personality out to the world, and gives us a means of reading other people. It gives pleasure when you communicate with it; when done at all well, it is a source of pleasure to the user. No one is ever going to recommend that we surrender the convenience and speed of electronic communications to pen and paper. Once typed into cyberspace, information remains there for ever, infinitely retrievable by typing a few key words into a search engine. By contrast, handwritten communication can only disappear into an archive, awaiting its transcription into type. Though it would make no sense to give up the clarity and authority of print which is available to anyone with a keyboard, to continue to diminish the place of the handwritten in our lives is to diminish, in a small but real way, our humanity. In all sorts of areas of our life, we enhance the quality of our lives by going for the slow option, the path which takes a little bit of effort…” Philip Henscher in the conclusion to The Missing Ink.
Henscher’s book about the loss of handwriting as central to all we do, starts with a lament that he doesn’t know what the handwriting of one of his closest friends looks like, and it ends with the statement in the conclusion above: that we should choose to continue to handwrite because it will — like slow food, like walking, like filling our lives with things we love to do and make — continue to give us much pleasure. Continue reading “Slow writing (and why it matters)”