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Computer vs. typewriter vs. long hand

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Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Oct 27, 2010 at 05:18 PM

 

Gary’s note stirred a memory of a great debate that took place 23 years ago about this same issue. It was spurred forth by the great writer and luddite Wendell Berry. This link,

http://home.btconnect.com/tipiglen/berrynot.html

connects to Berry’s original brief essay about why he would never buy a computer, some hot-tempered responses from readers, and Berry’s subsequent rejoinder. Berry gets the better of the exchange, in my view.

It’s definitely worth reading the whole thing, not just because its interesting that this debate is now almost a quarter-centruy old, but also because Berry is one of the most engaging writers around.

Steve

 


Posted by Daly de Gagne
Oct 27, 2010 at 05:43 PM

 

Thanks for link to Berry.

I love his writing, and his sensitivities. I look forward to reading the linked material.

I wonder if he has bought a computer in the meantime.

For poetry, longhand works best for me.

And I enjoy taking longhand notes when talking with someone, or reading books in the library.

But for articles and the like, computer is best (for me, that is).

I love the paraphernalia of long hand - especially fountain pens and Noodlers water-based fountain pen inks which bind with cellulose in paper to become absolutely permanent, water proof, and non-smudgable.

Yesterday I bought my first Pilot disposable fountain pen for under $5 - the whole barrel is full of ink. I am amazed at how well it writes - a very nice nib.

But I digress.

Daly

Stephen Zeoli wrote:
>Gary’s note stirred a memory of a great debate that took place 23 years ago about this
>same issue. It was spurred forth by the great writer and luddite Wendell Berry. This
>link,
> >http://home.btconnect.com/tipiglen/berrynot.html
> >connects to
>Berry’s original brief essay about why he would never buy a computer, some
>hot-tempered responses from readers, and Berry’s subsequent rejoinder. Berry gets
>the better of the exchange, in my view.
> >It’s definitely worth reading the whole
>thing, not just because its interesting that this debate is now almost a
>quarter-centruy old, but also because Berry is one of the most engaging writers
>around.
> >Steve

 


Posted by Hugh
Oct 28, 2010 at 10:58 AM

 

Many thanks for the link, Steve - very interesting.

Here’s one to a recent piece by Michael Bywater: “Everything starts with the pen”: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/everything-starts-with-the-pen-2109252.html

I agree with his line: “My own experience, too, is that the words come differently from a pen than from a keyboard.” (Relevant to Gary Carson’s post on another thread.)

My fountain-pens are amongst my most treasured possessions.

 


Posted by Gary Carson
Oct 28, 2010 at 04:22 PM

 

I like fountain pens, too. Smoothest writing instruments ever invented and nothing focuses your attention like writing longhand with a fountain pen.

I’ve got several fountain pens, but my favorites right now are the Waterman Paris, Namiki Falcon and the Pelikan (can’t remember the particular model off the top of my head). The Waterman Paris is pretty cheap (around $40, I think, at Staples) and really smooth after you break in the nib. The others were more expensive ($100+), and really nice, skip-free writers. The Varsity Disposable fountain pens are surprisingly good and ultra-cheap (around $11 on Amazon for a pack of seven). They last forever as well, but you don’t have any choice about the nib (they’re all fine point, I think). Personally, I like medium nibs.

I really like the minimalism of writing longhand. A pen and a notebook. That’s all you need.

Developing a fountain pen obsession is worse than a bad case of CRIMP, let me tell you. Once you develop the obsession, it’s all over. The next thing you know, you’re getting into all sorts of esoterica like finding the best writing paper, the best pens, the best ink, the best hand-tooled leather pen pouches and blotters and on and on and on. Check out the Fountain Pen Network forum at http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/ for an example of compulsive fountain pen mania.

Just writing about this makes me want to get another pen. It’s insanity. One of these days, I’m going to get a Mont Blanc Meisterstuck. They only cost around $800.

 


Posted by JohnK
Oct 30, 2010 at 12:05 AM

 

Gary, you have my sympathy. I too had a terrible case of fountain pen obsession for several years, and I have a desk full of pens to prove it. Keeping in mind the axiom that the addict is never cured, all I can say is that it is more than two years since I bought a fountain pen. However using my (fine nib) Pelikan still brings a smile to my face (like Daly, using Noodlers).

So, four forum members with a passion for fountain pens. What does that tell us?

 


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