First Click: I’m controlling your thoughts right now

July 9th, 2015


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

  1. IBM’s 7nm chip breakthrough points to smaller, faster processors

    It's usually Intel that leads the way with the latest processor innovations, but today an IBM-led consortium has leapt ahead by announcing it has produced the world's first functional 7nm node test chips. The most advanced commercial CPUs of today are built using a 14nm process and there are plans afoot for 10nm chips in 2016, but shrinking manufacturing any further has proven challenging and not at all straightforward.

  2. Stephen Colbert responds to stock market chaos by bottling urine and marrying a chicken

    Now Colbert — the human, not the character — has taken to the internet to weigh in on yesterday's news of stock exchange meltdowns and grounded flights.

  3. Listen to the incredible sound of a supercar accelerating past a world record

    The most shocking thing about watching from the passenger seat of a car going from zero to 300 kilometers an hour (186 mph) isn't the sight of the world whipping by at a frightening rate — it's the sound.

  4. This computer game takes you into Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel

    If you love the dreamy nostalgia and Easter egg color palettes of Wes Anderson films, Maquisard, a video game created by students at New York University's Game Center, will make your twee heart soar.

  5. BBC teases new Sherlock with Victorian Benedict Cumberbatch and a bushy mustache

    Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock is coming back to TV later this year for a special episode, but as a new teaser image shown off by the BBC last night shows, the master sleuth has changed a bit.

God dog of the day