- By Dominic Donaldson
- Published 10/25/2008
We are currently residing in an age where technology is taking over every aspect of our life. Seriously, if we were to have a robotic uprising, the human race would be rendered incapacitated as nothing would work. Even the most humble of tools, simply pen and paper is in danger of becoming obsolete thanks to the digital onslaught. We write to people on mobile phones and laptops; shopping lists are on PDA’s and the gadgets such as the Blackberry and Nintendo DS offer up a stylus to operate touch screen buttons. Surely this is leading to an era where communication without digital technology is greatly impeded. The children will forget how to write using ink, and unable to form a freehand glyph, will be cast to the bottom of the pile in a future society. Handwriting will belong to the realm of the elite, with only the wealthy being able to afford tuition, and then it will become a dying craft, much like calligraphy. If I did not feel quite so passionate about the subject, it would almost be amusing. It has occurred to me that maybe in the space of a few hundred years, the whole handwriting affair would have gone full circle.
Skilled applications of penmanship were once only used by the rich and educated; then came an educational revolution whereby the aim was for all children in the UK to be able to access the education system to attain basic reading and writing skills. Handwriting was practiced fervently,
and even my father’s era has writing of a quality that can be regarded as a skilled craft. Two generations on, and I see my own children happily tapping away on a keyboard, using a truncated jargon akin to a closed dialect and unable to pen a readable sentence. Enough of the ranting I think, time to propose a solution. The introduction of writing as a fun and interest medium I believe is the way forward, and I believe that can be achieved through the enticement of quality products. As a child, visiting a stationer to buy a new fountain pen, a selection of coloured cartridges and rainbow coloured stationary made my weekend. I loved to write letters to my relatives and stories for my friends. I took pride in the presentation as I treasured my coloured envelopes and stripy notepaper, and treated it as a rare commodity.
If we can bring these values back into the schools, or at home, I am sure we can inspire the youth of today to pick up a pen and start writing. In a throwaway society, very little emphasis is placed on quality and even less on items to be valued for their sentimentality or craftsmanship. If it hasn’t got an on button, the kids just don’t want to know. By encouraging writing through supplies of interesting and unusual stationary products, such as using purple ink on pink paper, white ink on black envelopes, ultra violet ink with a UV highlighter for secret messages, we can inspire an interest in writing again. The pen is mightier than the sword they say, I say that paper it is mightier than the pixelated page.