I am the writer and you are the reader. That relationship may change in time but for now, you must obey me. Your mind is helplessly under my control as my words fire electrical impulses directly into your brain. Look away if you want, but for now you are mine.
Dog. (you think dog)
God. (you think god)
It’s a powerful thing, this writing. Spoken words evaporate just as soon as their vibrations dampen against the ether. Written words linger like seeds, ready to take root in the ruts of our minds. To flower in a garden of knowledge that exists without geography or time, making the writer both omnipresent and immortal. More god than dog.
Ego trip aside, the very act of writing can be transformative to the writer. Not necessarily the slapping of keys, but the pen-to-paper etchings of our ink-stained ancestors.
A New York Times article from last summer titled "What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades" puts forth several scientific studies that demonstrate the benefits of freehand writing over keyboard entry. "Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand," says the article, "but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information." Adults benefit, too. While typing is faster, memory and learning are enhanced by each stroke of the hand due to "a process of reflection and manipulation that can lead to better understanding and memory encoding." In other words, learning is intensified by writing. But there are other benefits, too.
I recently discovered that my mother had saved every handwritten letter I mailed during my freshman year away at college. The impact of reading words I had written some thirty years prior was profound: the 18-year-old me in control of the 48-year-old me. Now, as a parent myself, I can imagine how much joy those words brought to my mother. How much she anticipated receiving them as she walked to the mailbox each afternoon.
Write. Scribble thoughts into a Moleskin journal for your grandkids to inherit. Slip a sneaky love note inside your partner’s jacket. Send hand-drawn calligraphy to a prison pen pal or a letter to the editor. Type an email to your father or text a friend. Just write — let your words bloom along the timeline of humanity.
I command you.
Five stories to start your day
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