Writing, technology and the beauty of the pen

I’m an avid scribbler. I’m constantly making notes in small notebooks tucked in my purse, on scrap paper and receipts, and when paper can’t be found, I write on my hand.

I joke a lot about how I hate technology, but that’s not necessarily true. I hate the way technology has become a crutch for most Americans, replacing our own ability to think, to solve problems, and to record thoughts and ideas.

So I love this TEDTalk by Master Penman Jake Weidmann, in which he extolls not only the virtues of the pen but the ways writing increase our historical, intellectual and creative literacy.

I was taken by his story about Platt Rogers Spencer, who in the 19th century created the Spencerian Script – when he was just 13 years old. Spencer believed that God had instilled beauty in nature, so by taking cues from nature he could instill the beauty of God in his penmanship. This is a kid after my own heart.

But the most compelling part of the video is when Weidmann talks about the way the tactile movements of writing with a pen actually engages the brain and helps ingrain the information in our memory in ways that typing doesn’t do. He makes the case that children who write actually learn more, adding:

“Schools are leaning all the time, more and more so, on technology to help move kids down the conveyor belt of the educational system. But what we need to do is be a good steward of both and listen to what our technology is telling us and pick up the pen and keep writing. You see, it is not technology that is the direct enemy of the pen. It is our dependence on technology. And the greater we grow our dependency on technology, what we may soon find is that we’ve created the most technologically advanced way of creating illiteracy.”

God has created our minds and bodies to work in perfect harmony, and the simple tool called the pen can bring it all into motion.

Make sure you watch the video all the way through to see some examples of Weidmann’s incredible artwork.


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