There’s still something special about pen and paper

Published 8:19 am Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I celebrated my 30th birthday on Tuesday, and got a wonderful surprise from my parents when they had a local florist drop off 30 balloons. I’m sure they called from Missouri to set it up, but one of the special things about the gift was that it included a card with a written message.

Now, it wasn’t necessarily their handwriting on the card — I’m sure a florist employee wrote it out. But it was still so much more special to me, then if it had only been printed text. Whoever told this florist to write out the messages on gift cards really knew what they were thinking.

I don’t mean to sound like I don’t appreciate e-mail messages or text messages of birthday greetings. I certainly do, and thank everyone who sent one to me. But there’s just something extra special about the written word. My parents also said that I would be getting a birthday card soon, and I look forward to reading what they wrote in it.

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I can’t help but think that the written word is losing its luster, in this world of technology and electronic communication. Maybe I’m a bit stubborn, but I continue to prefer to write out my “to-do” list on ledger paper and with my own pen. Yes, I’ll use the “Calendar” app on my smartphone to remind me of upcoming events, but I’ll also mark them down on a piece of paper.

I definitely know that I am the kind of person who remembers something much better when I’ve written it down, or it’s written down for me. When I took guitar lessons, my teacher was exasperated at times because she would demonstrate how to do a chord, and I could never quite figure out. But if she drew out a diagram on paper of where to hold the fingers, I was able to recreate the chord easily. It was the same in school, where I had to take long and detailed notes in order to figure out what the professor was saying.

Obviously this is a skill that has served me well in my profession. While I do use a voice recorder from time to time, I still prefer the old-fashioned notepad and pen. Again, there’s just something about writing things down that makes them stick in my head a lot better.

That being said, I’m definitely glad that we don’t have to write out newspaper stories anymore. I’m not sure my wrist could take it.