Adventures in the Thingness of Pen and Paper Again

There is magic in the thingness of pen and paper.

When was the last time you received a letter with that wonderful and familiar handwriting, that carried with it the something of the voice and spirit of the sender? So different and intimate compared to the rash and harried twitch of a thumb running across a telephone screen in a fleeting SMS. For me, I have always loved the thingness of pen and paper:

“Writing by hand is laborious, and that is why typewriters were invented. But I believe that the labor has virtue, because of its very physicality. For one thing it involves flesh, blood and the thingness of pen and paper, those anchors that remind us that, however thoroughly we lose ourselves in the vortex of our invention, we inhabit a corporeal world…I know that I talk about pens and notebooks the way the master of the seraglio talked about his loves slaves…” Mary Gordon from Writers on Writing Volume 1 Collected Essays from the New York Times.

All writers have their superstitions and rituals from writing with a certain pen or paper – myself included, give me a Clairefontaine notebook any day and my favourite ball point pen that my better half found abandoned, and since then could find no better home than in my hand. There have been a few adventures into fountain pens and coloured inks, my handwriting skidding across the page were ice and my fingers skates.

But it is not just the flirtation of other pens and ink that has affected my handwriting. So it was with great pleasure I discovered this joyful article by Philip Hensher in the Guardian on his book The Missing Ink : The Art of Handwriting ( and why it still Matters).


Who will join me with this call to arms ( hands and fingers)?

(apologies for font dramas, spacing etc –  alas having some wordpress problems with accepting edits and fonts…)


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