Essentially RAM is a blog which came from my journals, which I’ve been using since about 2003. It started almost as a piece of therapy to help me cope with my situation at the time. After a few months, I realised that it was perfect for all sorts of things – more positive things – – what I’d been doing, concerts I’d been at, exhibitions I’d seen and my scribbles!! Daft stuff that I’d heard and wise words, I’d read!
In praise of pen and paper!
Yes, computers and the internet are great: and yes… e-mail allows you to keep in touch with friends and family anywhere in the world, you have access to more information that could have ever imagined (or could know what to do with…), and you have the ability to create text, and images and share them with one and all at the touch of a button.
But there’s nothing like putting pen to paper. My iMac is switched on from the moment I get up and as a functional and aesthetically pleasing piece of kit, I cannot fault it. However typing on it will never be the same tactile experience as using pen and paper. On a very basic level, I am a pen and pencil freak- from my Montblanc- a treasured instrument which forces you to write script large enough to fill a hoarding-to the Japanese minimalism of a Muji- the Teutonic engineering of a Shorty or a Staedtler clutch pencil.. I love ’em all!
Time to think
Aside from the tactile element, there are also other reasons for adopting a slower technology. Some twenty years ago, an Independent journalist argued that ‘word processors’ were the worst thing to happen to creative writing as they gave any document an ‘appearance’ of professionalism, whatever the words said – a classic case of the triumph of form over content! I agree that words should be chosen and written, rather than simply bashed out on a computer – ‘scribbling on a keyboard’, as I call it, keyboard and this has to produce better work. For me, pen and paper is the best way – even how the writing appears – carefully inscribed, excitedly expressed or even a drunken scrawl – all of it conveys information and it’s part of the message.
From a creative standpoint, pen and paper have many benefits. A word processing package by definition is a linear process evolving from the start of the document to its end, and the writer moves along that line, but what if something springs into your mind that referred to an earlier part of the work? You could write a footnote to remind yourself, but not as quickly as you can with a pen. At least, I doubt it – ask yourself, if software is so flexible, why are computers often plastered with Post-It notes?!
Another element of pen and paper is its lifespan – paper changes colour, ink fades, but we can still enjoy the content. Remember when people told us that a CD was indestructible? Even if it was, will we still have the right technology in the future to enjoy what it contains? Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks are magnificent, but would we be able to see them if he’d used the ‘floppy discs’ of his time: I somehow doubt it.
And of course, it is portable. For several years, now my pen and paper fetish has taken the form of a small Moleskine notebook with a Pilot G-Tec-C4. It goes everywhere with me-it has never crashed, it does not require batteries, and it fits into my pocket: lap-tops, and PDA’s eat your heart out!