The Lost Art of Writing

One of my friends is writing her dissertation on the digitalisation of film.  She is asking whether watching films on different devices (iPhone, iPad, iHaveAGadgetCheckItOut) changes the “essence” of film or whether that remains untainted by the medium of watching.  Traditionalists, in addition, often feel that new methods of making the films themselves represent a “de-filming” or a technical dumbing-down of film-making.  This has been compared to writing- if it is acceptable to type and to read from a screen, if the printing press has been invented and we don’t need to read scrolls anymore, why is film so different?


Actually, writing things by hand is different to typing ideas immediately.  For example, a poem looks finished once it’s typed, whether or not it is ready or in a finished state.  So a first draft can look the same, aesthetically, as the finished product.

Hand writing a poem forces the writer to read, re-read, cross out, re-shape, etc.  Environmentally it is an unfriendly process, granted.  But it is certainly a different process.

I tend to mix up the two.  With poems, I will draft and re-draft on paper before I type it up.  I like to get a sense for the words, how they look and sound organically, before typing them.  But for things like this, I am either lazy of (I prefer) practical.  I write my first and even second draft by hand, but as I type I do my editing.  It minimises time and paper loss, as well as giving me the chance to cut and paste or delete impermanently, rather than going over and over the same paragraphs just because one isn’t perfect.

The ache in my hand reminds me I have done enough rambling for one early morning.


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