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Handwritten is a place and space for pen and paper. We showcase things in handwriting, but also on handwriting. And so, you'll see dated letters and distant postcards alongside recent studies and typed stories. 

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Filtering by Tag: Letters

An Evening of Letter-Writing @ The Morgan Library

Brett Rawson

On Friday, June 15, 2018, Handwritten curated an evening of letter-writing at The Morgan Library for their exhibit, The Magic of Handwriting

We celebrated the energy of blank spaces, allowing characters of all kinds to surface. Over drinks in the lively Gilbert Court, we spilled our guts out to distant friends and family through letters & postcards. It was a joy to provide sheets of inspiration to those who joined, giving that gentle nudge toward creative connections. If you weren't able to join, or have yet to visit The Morgan Library, put this on your to-do list: The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection is an exhibit you won't want to miss.

Below are a few windows into the evening. Thank you to The Morgan Library for inviting us in, and for providing a place to inch closer to each other. Stay tuned for upcoming opportunities, but in the meantime, and as always, keep the powerful pen busy. 

 

About The Morgan Library's current exhibit, The Magic of Handwriting:

Handwriting works magic: it transports us back to defining moments in history, creativity, and everyday life and connects us intimately with the people who marked the page. For nearly half a century, Brazilian author and publisher Pedro Corrêa do Lago has been assembling one of the most comprehensive autograph collections of our age, acquiring thousands of handwritten letters, manuscripts, and musical compositions as well as inscribed photographs, drawings, and documents.  This exhibition—the first to be drawn from his extraordinary collection—features some 140 items, including  letters by Lucrezia Borgia, Vincent van Gogh, and Emily Dickinson, annotated sketches by Michelangelo, Jean Cocteau, and Charlie Chaplin, and manuscripts by Giacomo Puccini, Jorge Luis Borges, and Marcel Proust. Rather than focusing on a single figure, era, or subject, Corrêa do Lago made the ambitious decision to seek significant examples in six broad areas of human endeavor—art, history, literature, science, music, and entertainment—spanning nearly nine hundred years. From an 1153 document signed by four medieval popes to a 2006 thumbprint signature of physicist Stephen Hawking, the items on view convey the power of handwriting to connect us with writers, artists, composers, political figures, performers, explorers, scientists, philosophers, rebels, and others whose actions and creations have made them legends. See more at The Morgan Library's website here.

A Surprise Wedding and the 52 Postcards That Followed • Carly Butler Verheyen

Brett Rawson

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BY CARLY BUTLER VERHEYEN

Nothing about our wedding was ordinary.  In fact, that morning I woke up thinking it was the day of our engagement party, but I got the surprise of a lifetime after reading a letter from my fiancé telling me that our engagement party that was planned for that day was actually our wedding day.  While I was away for 6 months retracing the steps of my Grandmother's love letters in London, England, he was at home planning our big day.  We had a date set the following year, so we were planning things together here and there, but little did I know that things we were planning were actually being moved to an earlier date: the date of our surprise wedding.  

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The surprise didn't end that night. The guests of our surprise wedding filled out postcards that had a number from 1 – 52 in the corner, and every week of our 1st year of marriage, a vintage postcard from one of our wedding guests came in the mail. Some of the guests took them home with them to fill out and send themselves, while others wrote a message that day or night and left it in a mailbox by the end of the night for our good friend to mail to us each week. 

Some had marriage advice, some had memories of our wedding day, and others had drunken messages of love and well wishes. It was such a treat to feel the love from our wedding guests all year long.

A few of our faves are below. 

#Handsmitten: Who Will Be Your Darling Valentine?

Carly Butler

BY CARLY BUTLER

Seventy-one years ago, these two lovebirds — my maternal grandparents — were celebrating the month of love and St. Valentine himself. After getting married just after WWII, my grandfather and the rest of the Canadian soldiers were sent home to Canada, leaving the 40,000 British warbrides to patiently await passage to their new life, new country, and new love. This letter is one of 110 that changed the course of my life and sent me on my own quest of love. 

Handwriting is often pegged for its romantic appeal. There's no denying the heart-tug of a handwritten letter. It contains an untouchable spark between two people that emojis simply cannot express — even though they are getting closer to our core feelings (how about that new happy drooling face, amirite?). In the spirit of love, we're getting sappy and happy with the hashtag #handsmitten. Starting right now, we want to hear all about the loves of your lives: the past, the (im)perfect, the messy, and the meaningful. Send us your handmade valentines, little notes of love, letters you've latched onto for years, or heirlooms that celebrate the communications of the heart. Don't be stupid in love; be cupid in love. #handsmitten

You can send them to carly@handwrittenwork.com, or simply tag us on social media @handwrittenwork, and did we mention? Bring your hashtag game: #HANDSMITTEN 

One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” - Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The ____ ___ of Handwriting: A Handwritten Contest

Brett Rawson

BY HANDWRITTEN

In September alone, there were over seventy articles written about handwriting. While some were only secondarily about handwriting (handwritten ransom notes, for example), too many of them had headlines that had us smashing our foreheads on the nearest walls. They contained combinations of these words: handwriting, lost, death, dying, art, myth, doesn't matter, etc. See three examples below:

We disagree wildly. So much so that we're writing a response to these articles, podcasts, and books. And we thought, why not have some fun in the process? So hand-writers, hand-thinkers, and hand-holders out there, help us breathe a little life into these headlines. Tell us what you think these headlines should say. We'll be picking our favorite five to include in the article, and hey, who knows, maybe yours will end up being the headline we use for our article. If so, due credit will be loudly given.

Riff off the ones above, or if "Fill in the Blank" is more of your style, then choose from the below and get silly, serious, or inspired.

Handwriting is a _____ _____.

The ____ ____ of Handwriting.

Handwriting ______________.

We look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to comment here on the post, or send us your submission to info@handwrittenwork.com.

 

Handwritten & Smithsonian @ The Sketchbook Project (9/10)

Brett Rawson

Pen to Panel

Handwritten & Smithsonian at The Sketchbook Project

September 10, 2016

We are over the moon to be partnering with the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art to celebrate the launch of Pen to Paper, an object of art published by Princeton Architectural Press, by hosting this culminating event, “Pen to Panel,” at none other than the world-renowned The Sketchbook Project. What better setting than a massive room lined with thousands of sketchbooks from humans around the world?

Join us on September 10th, from 6 – 8pm, for an evening of conversation, Brooklyn lagers, and archives. Curator of Manuscripts Mary Savig will be bringing letters from their archives to exhibit in the space, and around 7pm, we'll be quieting down to listen to five incredibly bright minds talk about the art and act of writing by hand today. On the panel will be Mary Savig, Linda Shrewsbury, Tullis Johnson, Luis Jaramillo, and Barbara Bash. You can see more information about our panelists and get a sneak-peek at Pen to Paper by visiting our online exhibition here: www.handwrittenwork.com/pentopanel.

The event is free, and so is the beer thanks to Pipe Dreams NYC! So come one, come many. We hope to see you at The Sketchbook Project for a few hours of wild words. Until then, keep the beautiful pen busy, and ink responsibly.

Curator of Manuscripts, Mary Savig, will be bringing some of the letters from Pen to Paper, which was published by PA Press (2016).

See our Facebook Event here, or enjoy the Handwritten ExhibitionWhat Stories Will Your Handwriting Tell?, which showcases letters from Pen to Paper, as well as exclusive interviews, essays, and reflections with Mary Savig and several of the contributors from the anthology.

Pints & Postage at Berg'n (8/17)

Brett Rawson

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"I don't always write a letter, but when I do, I do it at a bar." 
—Unknown

BY HANDWRITTEN

On Wednesday, August 17th, join Handwritten & Smithsonian's Archives of American Art for a free-ish evening of lagers & letters. For one hundred and twenty minutes, we'll be posting up at Berg'n, writing drafts, drinking draught beer, and sealing letters to distant lovers and friends. 

There will be plenty of postage provided by Handwritten, ornate stationary provided by Princeton Architectural Press, and discounted beers thanks to Berg'n! Come early, drop by anytime, or linger longer. Details:


Wed, August 17 at 7 PM - 9 PM
Berg'n, 899 Bergen St,
Brooklyn, New York 11238

I Want You To Stand Up With Me, Mom. Are You In?

Brett Rawson

BY HANDWRITTEN

The killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille, and the subsequent shooting in Dallas that resulted in the deaths of five police officers, have left us lost. We are torn, because we are dividing. It doesn't take very long to see these divisions, both online and offline. It leaves many people thinking, time and again: What (more) can we do? And what (more) can we say? 

But amidst the think pieces, protests, and polarizing opinions, a single letter has broken through, offering a new source of support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Meet Letters for Black Lives, which began as a multilingual resource for Asian-Americans who wanted to talk to their immigrant parents about anti-Blackness and police violence, but has grown to include messaging for Latinx and African immigrants as well as people living in Canada and Europe. The letter, which was initially written in English, has now been translated into 30+ languages, with over 300 contributing writers and translators. The common goal?

Speaking empathetically, kindly, and earnestly to our elders about why Black lives matter to us provides a framework for discussing issues of anti-Blackness and police violence with immigrant parents.

Why the handwritten letter?

We wanted to write a letter — not a think piece or an explainer or a history lesson — because changing hearts and minds in our community requires time and trust, and is best shaped with dialogue.

To follow along or join, see the links and resources below. We have posted the full English letter below. If you write your own, no matter the language, send it to us and we'll feature it on Handwritten and our social media channels. Help us spread these messages of love, and be a part of the unity:

www.lettersforblacklives.com  
Letters for Black Lives on Facebook 
Public Google Doc 

#BlackLivesMatter

Mom, Dad, Uncle, Auntie, Grandfather, Grandmother:       

We need to talk.

You may not have grown up around people who are Black, but I have. Black people are a fundamental part of my life: they are my friends, my classmates and teammates, my roommates, my family. Today, I’m scared for them. 

This year, the American police have already killed more than 500 people. Of those, 25% have been Black, even though Black people make up only 13% of the population. Earlier this week in Louisiana, two White police officers killed a Black man named Alton Sterling while he sold CDs on the street. The very next day in Minnesota, a police officer shot and killed a Black man named Philando Castile in his car during a traffic stop while his girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter looked on. Overwhelmingly, the police do not face any consequences for ending these lives.

This is a terrifying reality that some of my closest friends live with every day. 

Even as we hear about the dangers Black Americans face, our instinct is sometimes to point at all the ways we are different from them. To shield ourselves from their reality instead of empathizing. When a policeman shoots a Black person, you might think it’s the victim’s fault because you see so many images of them in the media as thugs and criminals. After all, you might say, we managed to come to America with nothing and build good lives for ourselves despite discrimination, so why can’t they?

I want to share with you how I see things.

It’s true that we face discrimination for being Asian in this country. Sometimes people are rude to us about our accents, or withhold promotions because they don’t think of us as “leadership material.” Some of us are told we’re terrorists. But for the most part, nobody thinks “dangerous criminal” when we are walking down the street. The police do not gun down our children and parents for simply existing.

This is not the case for our Black friends. Many Black people were brought to America as slaves against their will. For centuries, their communities, families, and bodies were ripped apart for profit. Even after slavery, they had to build back their lives by themselves, with no institutional support—not allowed to vote or own homes, and constantly under threat of violence that continues to this day.

In fighting for their own rights, Black activists have led the movement for opportunities not just for themselves, but for us as well. Black people have been beaten, jailed, even killed fighting for many of the rights that Asian Americans enjoy today. We owe them so much in return. We are all fighting against the same unfair system that prefers we compete against each other. 

When someone is walking home and gets shot by a sworn protector of the peace—even if that officer’s last name is Liang—that is an assault on all of us, and on all of our hopes for equality and fairness under the law. 

For all of these reasons, I support the Black Lives Matter movement. Part of that support means speaking up when I see people in my community—or even my own family—say or do things that diminish the humanity of Black Americans in this country. I am telling you this out of love, because I don’t want this issue to divide us. I’m asking that you try to empathize with the anger and grief of the fathers, mothers, and children who have lost their loved ones to police violence. To empathize with my anger and grief, and support me if I choose to be vocal, to protest. To share this letter with your friends, and encourage them to be empathetic, too. 

As your child, I am proud and eternally grateful that you made the long, hard journey to this country, that you've lived decades in a place that has not always been kind to you. You've never wished your struggles upon me. Instead, you’ve suffered through a prejudiced America, to bring me closer to the American Dream.

But I hope you can consider this: the American Dream cannot exist for only your children. We are all in this together, and we cannot feel safe until ALL our friends, loved ones, and neighbors are safe. The American Dream that we seek is a place where all Americans can live without fear of police violence. This is the future that I want—and one that I hope you want, too.

With love and hope,
Your children

The Keepers • Sharon W. Huget

Brett Rawson

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BY SHARON W. HUGET

As I go through three months worth of papers that have accumulated in piles trying to put the keepers into files, I find the letter my Auntie Mary Ann wrote in early January. It was a response to our annual family Christmas card. It immediately catches me and I bring it to the table so I can re-read it over my Sunday tea. Ah Sundaya day for quiet, un-hurried, sit down tea, sipped slowly while still hot.

The delicate handwriting with it's curves and fancy loops echoes the scalloped edged stationary, eggshell blue with pink roses framing the page. A what's happening letterabout life and change and questions about the happenings in our lives as my own kids grow up and we grow older. 
 
It has been years since all my cousins were at her place searching for coloured hard-boiled Easter eggs hidden in corners of the basement, around storage boxes and in my uncle's work boots. Christmas memories of cousins relegated to playing in the basement and giggle fits as the pack of us are ordered to sleep, squished wonderfully side by side, sleeping bag to sleeping bag.  I remember the sounds from the downstairs guest room and hearing the late night footsteps of clean up in the kitchen, lingering laughter of adult siblings and in-laws visiting upstairs and the early morning hurried stomps of getting breakfast out and the roast in before dressing in Sunday clothes and heading for church. So long agoand yet, the familiar script has brought her close again for a moment of cherished remembering.
 
It’s a keepera piece of caring and love from my dear Aunt Mary Ann.

Some People Live a Whole Lifetime, and They Never Learn to Love the Rain • Adrienne Pieroth

Brett Rawson

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BY ADRIENNE PIEROTH

I received this letter towards the end of my freshman year in college. I was away from my hometown of Denver, Colorado, attending Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. It had been a year of adjustments for me — some good, some challenging — like most 18 year-olds spending their first long period of time away from home. My mother had always been the center of my life, the touchstone I would return to over and over again for comfort, love, a hug, a laugh, or a cup of tea and a much-needed chat. My mother was British and had me late in life the at 39 years old.

Perhaps it was her older, wiser years that made her such a solid and grounded figure in my life. If you asked me what defined the word “home” for me, I would say without hesitation, my Mum. While being away from the comforting home and life she had created for me was difficult at first — her care packages and letters she sent each week made all the difference. Most of the letters were about daily stuff — what was happening at home, with my Dad, or how the cats were doing. But towards the end of the year, this letter arrived. I knew it was special from the minute I opened it. I had no way of knowing that less than five years later, I would be sharing the words in this letter as part of the eulogy I gave at her funeral.  

Throughout my high school years my mother battled a rare form of cancer. During those years, I lost track of the number of surgeries, and the radiation and chemotherapy treatments.  But all the while, I never once remember her complaining, or asking “why me?” Perhaps the fact that my mother grew up in England during World War II, where nights spent in bomb shelters, rations and stories of sacrifice and bravery defined her youth. All I knew was that my mother had incredible strength, optimism, and not for one minute did she ever believe she wouldn’t survive her battle with cancer. 

When I first read it, the part of the letter that struck me most was that she was proud of me. My mother always told me she loved me and how proud she was of me, but it was something different to see it in words, written on a page, in her beautiful handwriting — handwriting, by the way, I couldn’t read until I was nearly ten. My mother had been a secretary and knew shorthand, so her writing was a combination of cursive and shorthand in a style all it’s own. 

Years later, at her funeral, it was her last words that spoke to me most, and the ones I shared with family and friends gathered to say goodbye. They were: 

...we have to have some grey days in our lives in order to appreciate the bright sunny ones, and we have to make the best of them. I can’t help thinking how wonderful it is that at your young age you seemed to have learned this. Some people live a whole lifetime, Adrienne, and they never learn to love the rain.

If I learned to love the rain, I learned from my mother’s example. Looking back, I wonder which of her grey days she was remembering as she wrote those words. The day I read those words as part of her eulogy was the greyest day of my life to date, even 26 years later, but the brightness of her love and the memories of my time with her outshine the rain. Whenever I want to remember this, I need only to open the envelope that contains my mother’s beautiful words of love and support to be reminded. 

April 29th, 1985

My Dear Adrienne,

I am looking forward so much to having you home for the summer. To hear the front door open & to hear you say, “Hi it’s me.” Your dad & I have missed your very much since you went off to college but we know this is the first stage of our daughter’s independence. We love you very much & we are so very proud of you. We know you have worked long & hard in all of your classes & it’s been a struggle, so many times wanting to go out & have fun, or go to a party, but knowing that you have homework to do and that the studies come first.  

You have always been able to appreciate the small things in life, Adrienne – a diamond ring – a new 28oz – a trip around the world! So just kidding, I really mean the small & important things in life.  When we talked on the phone last week I remember your comment on the weather.  It was raining & you said when you were passing a couple of students they were complaining about the rain; how wet & miserable it was. You told me you were smiling inside because it brought back memories of England back to you & the air smelt so sweet & fresh.

Life is a little like that – we have to have some grey days in our lives in order to appreciate the bright sunny ones, & we have to make the best of them. I can’t help thinking how wonderful it is that at your young age you seemed to have learned that. Some people live a whole lifetime Adrienne & they never learn to love the rain.  
 

From your ever loving, 
Mum

 

A photo of Adrienne and Mum 

 

In Review • International Handwriting Day 2016

Brett Rawson

On January 23rd, 2016, Handwritten celebrated National Handwriting Day by showcases international alphabets. We opened a call to hand-writers around the world, and received characters of all kinds, including invented alphabets, like the one above by writer and artist Tatiana Roumelioti. Halfway through the day, we even received four letters from The Smithsonian's Archives of American Art, which are forthcoming in their new anthology Pen to PaperThough we celebrate on this scale once a year, the pen party never stops. Enjoy the work we received below, and stay tuned for our celebration in 2017. 

1. Creative Quotables.

2. Letters from The Smithsonian Archives of American Art.

3. Poems from around the world.

4. Invented, Real, Permanent, No Longer.

5. Messages of Love.

6. #BICDROP

What does seeing all this make you want to do? Hopefully, pick up a pen. But after such an incredibly fun and wide-reaching celebration of handwriting this past weekend, all we can think about doing is one giant #bicdrop. And thanks to our brilliant graphics design, Megan Sykes, for providing us with a way to express this feeling.


I Don't Create With Any Intention of Meaning • Tatiana Roumelioti

Brett Rawson

It'd odd how the simple coordination of individual strokes leads to the immediate recognition of meaning. But what happens when those strokes are combined new lines? Artist Tatiana Roumelioti has been exploring the bridge between art and words. You could say she's invented an alphabet, but that would be putting meaning where there is none. And so, we leave her words as they are, and their meaning up to you. 

Read More

Education Means to Me The Most Powerful Weapon • Rafeha Oyamuddin

Brett Rawson

* For information about this project, see our note at the bottom of the page *

Hello everyone!

I am a student in 12th grade at ZEC. I want to go to college because I make friends last year when I heard about college I started to dream about going to college. Education means to me the most powerful weapon wich we can use to change the world. With college degree I will always be marketable. By getting education I will have less problems and able to solve them. I teach other girls in my village. When I daughter I wish her to be educated like me and have a bright futur. Because if there is no struggle there is no progress. My greatest wishes to become a doctor and help my family and people. Thanks

Best wishes, 
Rafeha Ogamuddin 

A Note from Handwritten (December 6, 2016): This comes from our exhibit, When I Know The Value of Knowledge, I Start To Dream. We brought the story and letters of seven students from Deh'Subz, Afghanistan into 4th grade classrooms in Brooklyn, because that is when the girls first started school. When they became the first to graduate from high school, they had no college to go to, so they hand-wrote personal statements to a school that didn't exist. Yet. Their letters created an impact campaign that raised $150,000, enough to build the first-ever free private college for women. When we told our 4th grade students about this story, the above, heart-melting letters were their replies.  

No Other Place Publishes Process • The Origins of Handwritten

Brett Rawson

In early Spring of 2015, Sarah Madges set out on a project surrounding the Handwritten word and recalled Brett mentioning a project he had recently begun. She reached out to ask if the project was still alive. It was, barely. The exchange served to reignite the project and has since turned into this site, which Sarah is also to thank for, as she since came on board as a central curator for the project. Below is their initial exchange about the idea for the site you are seeing today, which is constantly evolving. 

SARAH MADGES: What inspired you to develop a publication/project surrounding the handwritten word? What is your own experience with handwriting?

BRETT RAWSON: I knew I wanted to start something last winter. I took a course at The New School that had us look at digital storytelling, and I found great calm mixed with wild energy in this embrace of and attitude toward technology - how can we use technology to promote our passions, digital or otherwise? On a morning in February, I was on the L train brainstorming for a separate project when the word Handwritten appeared from somewhere. I had my notebook in hand so I scribbled it down. I happened to be heading toward a workshop put on by PEN, so I wonder if that had something to do with the whole thought. At any rate, the word opened up the idea itself: a home for the handwritten word online. 

There is no place that publishes things other than finished products. I wanted to promote process. There's a bunch of theories and thoughts about handwriting, penmanship, and personalities. I do think about them, and I care about them, but I am not specifically concerned about them. I don't really care much about their outcomes or conclusions. For example, I find it interesting what people think my handwriting says about me, but I care more about saying things with and through my handwriting. What comes of it in the end is not really something I can consider while I am doing it. 

The idea is pretty simple—for people to express themselves with pen and paper, and be published for it. It's also to be a preserve of sorts—for letters written by those who have passed, for example. I am always writing by hand. I don't always write my stories by hand, though most things usually begin on paper—in a journal, on a napkin, or a legal pad. I do, however, write a lot of letters. It's how I ease myself into writing for the day. I can't jump into writing on the computer without starting by hand. I have to start somewhere free. In this sense, it's like stretching, doing yoga, starting out slow, or warming up. 

MADGES: What is the project's mission statement? 

RAWSON: A place in space for pen and paper. But I have been thinking about changing it to something a mentor of mine once said: writing is a physical activity. 

MADGES: Are you concerned that handwriting / cursive lessons are being eclipsed by keyboard proficiency lessons in U.S. elementary schools?

RAWSON: I'm not so sure I am that worried about cursive. But that's probably because mine is horrific. In fact, my regular handwriting sort of looks cursive. Or maybe it looks like it is cursing. It's hard to tell. Someone once said my handwriting looks like a string of wasted wingding characters, which is offensive, but true. But handwriting altogether, what a horrific waste of natural talent. The hand is how we gain access to our inner self. I really don't think the computer can access that wild, raw energy inside each of us. When using a computer, I get an external feeling (usually in the form of mild swells of panic), whereas when I write by hand, the noise from everywhere really quiets down, and I can finally hear my own voice.

The people making these policies, or mistakes, probably don't write by hand much. I imagine they see it as a waste of time, or something of the past, that we should get with the times and technology. This measurement feels imprecise. And it isn't a matter of sentimentality. It also isn't about one or the other. I wonder when people will wake up and coexist - to stop living in some world of ones. I write on the computer all the time. I have four twitter accounts, a Facebook profile, page, and group, five Instagram accounts, one tumblr, and three websites. You know? It's not like I don't get the beauty and power in the computer, let alone its efficiency, insanity, and amusement. I am a user, and I love using it. But what a fucking mistake to not teach kids how to write by hand. So I guess I am concerned.

MADGES: Do you notice a difference in the kinds of things you write when you use pen/pencil as opposed to a computer / word processor? How do you think the writing tool affects content/style/etc? How do you think it affects the editing process?

RAWSON: Absolutely. The medium affects everything. The effect is also bilateral. The reader adjusts his or her expectations based on the medium. A letter is sort of like dining out—there is an experience to it. An email is more like take-out, delivery, or TV dinner - it is often more quick, requires less from me, and can be done while doing something else. 

That being said, I don't see it as a matter of good or bad, better or worse. It is simply different. Writing by word processor is more about a product or outcome—a finished something—and so pieces composed there are usually toward that end. But with handwriting, it is more so a work of progress, or process. It is, inherently, more private and intimate. Computers are meant to connect, gather, and scatter. And the screen in between becomes a kind of reflection and projection, which can be a disorienting feeling that registers at a deeper level. Handwriting is about process on two levels -- one, it is about the process, but two, it is a way to process things. Not necessarily produce a product. 

MADGES: Phenomenologists have argued that the self falls away when we are engaged in an intense activity, usually one that collapses the sense of the mind-body split by activating both elements. Do you think the writing implement of choice could act as a bodily extension, and that writing by hand helps combine subject and object in ways that promote intimacy with a text, whereas typing into a word document promotes separateness of subject and object?

RAWSON: Fascinating. I imagine this has to be. There is a oneness when it comes to things like painting, the piano, or even running, and so it would make sense that it carries over to hand-writers. It makes me think of meditation for some reason, only I don't really know why. There is intense freedom within limitation, which might be why the computer is such an energy vampire. It pokes so many holes in our concentration containers that after a short period of time, we feel totally drained. Whereas with the handwritten word, I think of a dam and what happens when everything flows through a single thing—it harnesses a new kind of energy. Because with handwriting, you aren't concerned really with what you're writing. There is something hypnotic about the way in which the hands moves. 

MADGES: Anything else you would like to add?

RAWSON: Keep the beautiful pen busy!