Dear Pen and Paper,
I bought a manual typewriter from a junk shop downtown Aberdeen and typed my first short story on it. I was eighteen. I didn’t own a computer until college. My son was just learning to walk and he spoke only in the roundest sounds and brightest gestures. Before then, I composed in notebooks. I never went anywhere without a notebook in my hand or backpack. I often had several notebooks going a once.
Finding time to write then felt the most impossible it ever has, enrolled in eighteen credits as I was, tied as I was to my first responsibility–parenthood.
In ten years, I composed fifteen or so short stories on the computer and filled twice as many –more–notebooks with a disorganized collection of journal entries, quotes pulled from other writers, poems, and story ideas. On my computer now, I have hundreds of poems, more than fifty short stories, and four full-length novels in various stages of development. But, pen and paper, I always start with you. When I’m stuck, I fall back on your forgiving blank page, nothing like the cold white of the computer screen, cursor flashing.
Pen and paper, with you, I can write anywhere and recline while I write, and there is something about the hand’s grip, the way ink loops and scratches across the page with my whim or intent, something about the way I can scrawl out lines or words and draw arrows to move pieces of prose around on the page.
Pen and paper, I prefer you for starting anything and when I’m stuck. You are my choice for letters and love notes. Among all the remedies prescribed for writing emergencies–the software, the apps, the social networks–you emerge as that simple solution people sometimes talk about.