Is the pen becoming obsolete?


I sit here typing on my computer wondering when the pen will become obsolete. Is the pen being phased out like the typewriter? Or a watch? With computers, smart phones, ipads, and Kindles, do you ever need a pen any more? What about paper? At least with paper you can type something on the computer and then print it. We send letters via e-mail and sign contracts electronically, so why would we still need to use a pen?

Dare I admit that I actually enjoy writing with a pen? Even worse, I like writing cursive with a pen. My boyfriend still has no idea how to read my cursive so all my journal entries are safe from him. He always thinks I am writing about him (as if I had the time). I would have the time, but I don’t have a watch. I love to write cursive in my college-ruled notebook with no computer or phone in sight. Is it possible that I am single-handedly keeping all the pen and paper companies in business? For some reason the physical experience of handwriting is different from typing on a computer. I know words still end up on the page, but there is a difference in how the brain works in each process and how the words come out. When I am typing I can write 90 words a minute. When I handwrite the words glide onto the paper much slower. Writing slow is not a bad thing when you want to think.

Maybe instead of wondering about pens going obsolete, I need to look in the mirror. Am I next? I may be going obsolete because I still cook in an oven (not a microwave) and I prefer french pressed or Turkish coffee instead of coffee from one of those fancy coffee machines. I am talking about those machines that can make coffee, fold my laundry and wash my car. I am not sure they do windows though. At least I am still good for something.

Another reason I became concerned with my obsolescence is that I recently discovered that my ability to concentrate on one task for long periods of time is disappearing. Hold on. I need to go put the laundry in the dryer. Sorry, back now. What was I saying? Oh, yes, I was talking about concentration. Sorry again, just one moment. I need to heat water for coffee now. Yes, back again. Where was I? Concentration is the problem. Actually the problem isn’t me. It is society’s inability to focus that is becoming the problem. Is a society with people who don’t have the ability to concentrate on tasks for long periods of time a good thing? Who will do research or design the next i-device? Who will be the heart surgeon? Can you tell I am worried about society going in a direction that is not necessarily good? I feel like life is moving too fast and there isn’t time to relax. No time to concentrate or focus. One might call it information overload. We get on-line and find ourselves bouncing around from e-mails to Facebook to an article about killer bees. How can we do this with such ease? Or do we? Is this hurting us in ways we don’t realize? Are we becoming dependent on information being thrown at us instead of sitting down and creating something or just plain thinking?

As I type this blog on my MacBook Air I wonder if I should grab the pen and paper sitting on the table next to me? Can I be more creative through the process of writing with a pen instead of using technology?  For now, the pen and paper industry is still safe because I love to sit outside or in a coffee shop and write with my Papermate Profile Elite pen on college ruled notebook paper. Maybe the ability to write cursive with a pen on my computer is just around the corner with one of these note taking applications. I can only hope that even if the pen goes obsolete, that thinking won’t.

Shades of Words

A pink pen writes
Like any other pen
I hold it tight
And write words again

Words in colors
Can you see meaning?
Orange of the sun
Does the ocean look green?

Words in all shades
Black, blue, red, and pink
Words shine on a page
Are they different you think?

The power of the pen or the keyboard?

Lately I noticed that I really enjoy writing with a pen on paper more than I like writing on a computer. Is that antiquated? It made me wonder if there is something physically different about the writing process with the pen that makes it more fun to perform than typing. The words literally flow from the ink in my pen to the paper whereas on the computer, I have to ‘tick-tick-tick’ the words. It feels like a completely different experience, although both require the writing of words.

I know writing to paper requires ‘rewriting’ into the computer later (assuming I want to share it), but sometimes the stuff I write to paper isn’t really worth sharing. Occasionally I go back and read some of the junk I have written, but most of the time it is more important to just get it out of my mind. This is because I do cathartic writing before I start the real writing, and that is the stuff that ends up in the notebooks that should ultimately be burned. Sometimes there are words that haunt you forever, and I would like those to just go up in flames. What about the good words? How do I effectively write them and get them into a computer at the same time?

I am not sure why, but I miss the paper and pen writing when I don’t do it. Besides, it seems like it is only about one day every decade that I write something very profound necessitating sharing. Since burning the computer isn’t an option (and it is a requirement), I will still continue to use some number of paper notebooks for my junk writing. Recyclers forgive me when I burn my notebooks, just remember that it is for a good cause – my sanity. I guess I need to continue using both mediums (paper/pen and laptop) of I am to be truly efficient. If this is what made it to the computer, you can only imagine what is in my paper notebook (a.k.a. kindling).