paper or plastic PC?

A recent post by nodressrehersal(and comments) about LJ itself brought up the subject of paper journaling. Years after my father died I ended up with his collection of fountain pens dating back to the 1940’s. Several things grew out of this; the first was that I started collecting old fountain pens – soon finding myself using them exclusively and second, I started journaling. Buying five nice hard-bound 196 page journals at Borders, I set out to document my thoughts. Three and a half journals and seven years later I’m still at it. My longhand style is a mostly legible hodgepodge of some cursive but mostly printed characters. At first I wrote anything – likes, dislikes, lists, wishes, dreams, rants, regrets – some of it more personal than what I’ve expressed on LJ. Once I started LJ though I noticed an immediate decrease in my paper entries. In both paper and LJ the intensity of my posts where I expressed strong feelings has lessened over time. Most LJ posts are well thought out pieces, usually highly edited (like what I’m doing now – rewriting, cutting, pasting) probably because I know others might read them, where my paper topics were more stream-or-consciousness in nature (sometimes running on over a half dozen 8.5 X 11 pages). Or at least they used to be like that. Recently I’ve mostly filled several dozen pages with various quotes taken from the many books I’ve read. I’m finding other writers are better at expressing my views than I am. For example something written in an essay titled ‘Public Solitude’ by Allen Ginsberg over 40 years ago I find surprising relevant today, maybe even more so than at the time- “The present condition of life for American person is one of deathly public solitude. We’ve built a technological Tower of Babel around ourselves.” (‘Deliberate Prose: Selected Essays 1952-1995’ p.126) or these by Tom Robbins in ‘Skinny Legs and All’ – “Pious dogma, if allowed to flourish, will always drive magic away.” (p.316) “The mission of the artist in an over technologized, over masculinzed society was to call the old magic back to life.”(p.323)


About Marcus

Who me? Introverted, neurotic, self-absorbed, increasingly cynical observer of human nature and part time social critic in hiding. Most of my life spent avoiding growing up. The naive idealistic passions of youth have evolved into the eclectic eccentricities of adulthood. Northeast Florida small-town native, related to people I can't relate to. Simultaneously my own best friend and worst enemy. Politically and spiritually unaffiliated, my personal ideologies put me all over the map or off it completely.
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3 Responses to paper or plastic PC?

  1. The only hand-written stuff I keep is:
    1) My reading log – a simple list-type format, book title, author, a thought or two about it, concepts to explore further, etc. and a rating, 1.00-5.00. I started it a few years back, I love it, and can’t imagine computerizing it. Huh.
    2) My gardening notes. I have a book a dear friend gave me years ago. In addition to noting what I buy and where it goes, what I’m moving and why, I note the dates of our first hummingbird, catbird, and oriole sightings in the gardens each year. Again, it seems wrong to put it on the computer, I don’t know why.
    It’s wonderful that you have your father’s fountain pens AND that you use them. As far as paper vs. computer writing, I really, really appreciate the ability to edit; it minimizes frustration.
    You can share quotes that say what you mean and get the same kind of discussion energy going…ownership doesn’t change that, right?
    I LOVED Skinny Legs and All, absolutely loved it.

  2. You’re right about the superiority of paper journaling. I originally started out on LJ as a means to have privacy (no one can find my LJ hidden in a closet), but I found that as people added me to their f0list, I became more concerned with not offending them or seeming foolish than expressing myself honestly.
    Sometimes I go for a long while making only private postings.

    • marcsuttle says:

      I’m against the idea of “friends only” journals or private posts. If that’s what someone prefers just maintain an email list. Knowing my writing is public I probably over edit my posts, trying to be careful to say what I mean. I don’t think paper journaling is superior to blogging. They both have their + and – points. I keep (so far) three separate paper journals- the one I described, one for poetry ideas and a third about a particular 400 page book I’m reading which I’ve already written 41 pages about. For a while I kept the third journal as an LJ community and duplicated all the entries there but no one took notice so I removed it.

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