Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pushing Pens

One thing I hadn't really thought about was how changes in print culture will affect some less obvious forms of printing. Like, for instance, handwriting...

This idea came up when I happened to catch an ad on TV for pens. Yep, pens. It got me to thinking whether or not pen sales are suffering as we turn more and more to computers to do our writing work? The ad makes all kinds of scientific claims for why writing things down in coloured ink aides memory. I'll buy that. But my interest is in thinking about printed matters like handwriting. Does it matter? Not in the sense of helping you to remember what you study, but in terms of how we understand what it means to write. There are all kinds of theories about the possibility of personality analysis through handwriting, for example. Not to mention the idea that a handwritten note in today's era carries considerable emotional weight.
It also makes me think about the way in which pens (and other stationery items like notebooks and diaries) have become such desirable fetish objects, displayed in special counters at the cash registers in bookshops. I don't know about you, but most of the time I like the idea of buying these things but resist because the top drawer of my desk is already full of them. There comes a point when you realise that you are probably unlikely to get through all the ink I've amassed - especially when I, like most people, spend my days in front of a computer screen.

Oh, yes. Here's the ad in question.

1 comment:

  1. I'm rather fond of my Parker fountain pen. It's apparently the same kind of pen that Winston Churchill used, although I'm fairly certain that Winston didn't fill his pen with purple ink and use said pen to write lengthy tales about ex-boyfriends and Italian pop music... although it may have changed history a bit if he did.

    Agreed, I can see that relatively new-fangled attraction to blank notebooks, what with stores such as kikki-k, Kami, Bookbinders Design and even Smiggle. It may well be attributed to the growing dominance of digital publishing, but it may also be attributed to a desire to be creative.

    To me, that "wannabe creative" market is one that has only been carved out in more recent times, what with the writings of Julia Cameron, Steve Pavlina and Gala Darling, to a lesser extent. These people offer a creative guidance which often involves just DOING it, writing anything on a page, filling notebooks with subconscious thought. In my mind, that has attributed to the popularity of such items, since their writing encourages me when I feel like I really shouldn't bother writing anything at all.

    Thanks for your bloggy btw, I look forward to reading more from you!