Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite, Fool, said my muse to me, look in thy heart and write! — Sir Philip Sidney, “Sonnet 1”

It is assumed in our culture that technology invariably breeds time – i.e. the more technologically advanced we become, we will consequently find that we’ve more time on our hands. This sentiment, however, has its issues. For when we look at America today, we see a bunch of busy-bodies without enough time on their hands. The dishwasher was created to simplify and speed up the process of washing the dishes, yet man chose to fill the gained time with some other pursuit instead of kicking back, having a smoke, and watching the dishwasher work its magic. It is my belief that as technology increases so do the toys and consequently the time spent with said toy until there are altogether far more toys than time in a day. That is the issue at hand.

And so it is why I have decided to embark on writing my blog, known as the fickle farce, in pen. I have decided to this for many reasons, but mainly because I find that writing with a pen is exceptionally different than with a keyboard. And the main difference will come out in thought: writing on a keyboard does not allow for the same flow of thought as does does writing with pen and paper. Let me explain:

Even as I write these words (in pen, transcribed by keyboard), thoughts are being discovered in my mind much like a scientist discovers a new and rare species. My mind—I speak for myself here—does not immediately know what to do with the thought, but examines it, and but hypothesizes on it, and but tests it out, and but comes to a conclusion—a rather laborious process if you ask me. This being how my mind works, I find that typing away on a keyboard all the while attempting to process that which is going on upstairs—if we allow for anything to be “going on”—creates a bit of a jam in the writing process. My fingers are much too ready for my poor slow and dull mind if you will.

But when it comes to writing with pen on paper, I find that rarely do I back away from the writing and ruminate about what I have next to say. Instead, it is so much more free-flowing and continuous. Thus, I have decided to write in this fashion for a spell and see how it turns out for the predetermined yet unknowable future. I will here list a few reasons why I think it is a good practice for any aspiring writer.

First, we must accept that the greatest writers of all time were indeed those who wrote with a pen. In my humble opinion, there have been no better or more influential writers than Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Dickens (not including Biblical authors of course). Today’s writers, though great, do not come close to touching these three. All three would have laboriously written in the barbaric way of the pen and parchment, and all three managed to write an immense amount of works. Why is this? Should not technology itself produce better writers who have more time to think about plots, themes, and characters? To this I say no doubt it has. Today’s writers write plots that are so intricate they run circles around the three men mentioned. They were not praised for their plot so much as for style in my mind. Dickens makes a poor old man sitting down smoking a pipe far more exciting a read than any plot today because it was not what he told—though important—but how he told it.

Typing, in my opinion, breeds laziness. It does not cause one to think so much about each word, one at a time. There is not enough time allowed for the thought to read the keyboard as there is when a pen is involved. As I write this now (with pen), I have sat back to think maybe three times—mainly because I am stuck on a word. When I write on a computer, it would have been double digits. Writing with a pen allows for continuous flow of thought. The writer does not now have to interrupt his writing so much as the modern man does.

Secondly, we find that writing with a pen can happen essentially anywhere. Though I already journal everyday concerning that which was read in the Bible, I find I could write much more often in this style because, unlike a computer, I can take my handy fickle farce notebook and jot down my ruminations as I go along—much like Mr Pickwick did before the taxi driver flew off the handle, obviously unaware as to whom he was flying off at.

Thirdly, and lastly, for this has gone on long enough I suppose, we must begin to view writing as nothing more than an avenue for thought. Since my good ruminations on the mutability of human affairs cannot all possibly be conceived at one particular moment in time, I must allow for note taking to take place—or perhaps the jotting down of a well-developed bit of prose that enters my head throughout the day. This, of course, allows for that.

And so I am quite excited about this new avenue of life I am taking with my blog. Though perhaps just as dry and dull as before; though all who read turn away at the first paragraph for their own sanity; Though I and God be the only two players in this thing called the fickle farce known to most as life, the play will go own, we will reach the inn spoken of by Chesterton, the new world created by Lewis, the undying lands longed for in Tolkien. They are there, for though none remember this rumination, it lives on its creation, and ultimately, its posting on the internet. Oh, the irony!

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. — Shakespeare, “Sonnet 18”

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One thought on “Thinking with My Pen

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