"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Weighty words.

A friend gave me a new pen today. I've been a bit of a pen snob since high school, and have a favorite fountain pen (nothing fancy as fountain pens go, some of them cost hundreds of dollars, but this one has a nice feel to the nib, is attractive, and flows easily-- besides, I'm too cheap for a hundred dollar pen) that I use for more formal documents. If nothing else it appeases my vanity by making my signature look bold and neat.

Today's new pen (thanks Paul) has a good texture and weight to it; you won't find that in a disposable. (Its also seriously cool and smells like coffee! Awesome for a gal who never really outgrew scented markers!) I like a pen with a good weight; it makes a pen feel real and permanent.

Which got me to wondering, in our world, we write so many light and disposable words, that real and permanent is almost strange. We send emails (which get deleted upon receipt most of the time), we make memos and grocery lists and all manner of chicken scratchings. We produce a LOT of words, but we no longer write letters, journals, and much of substance which we would expect the the next generation to read. How many of us would think of our great-great grandchildren as we dash off our words?

We write on the backs of envelopes with disposable pens, desperate disposable words destined for the waste basket once their immediate purpose is fulfilled. Our words lack permanence and heft. Letters give way to email which has since faded into Facebook "status updates". Journals yield to blogging, which is now fading into Twitter. Microblogging they call it. The literary equivalent of a grunt.

But some words need to have weight, permanance and artistry. Sermons should be built to last; preached once but worthy of repeat, custom designed yet universally reliable. Journals likewise should be crafted for the moment but with an eye to the future. The art of writing poetry, books, and letters worth saving is a fading craft. But perhaps, if we begin to think of our words as indespensible, rather than disposable, we will begin to return to the creation of words worth keeping.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. About 5 years ago I started a journal, specifically with the future in mind. Not a journal about my spiritual and psychological state, but specifically about what I, and my family, does: where we go, whom we see, and the like. What piqued my desire to do so was the fact that I cherish every little piece of evidence I have of my ancestors doing just about anything. And I wished I had a journal from my great-grandparents. So I figured I would create one for my great-grandchildren.

    On the other hand, this year, I made my first new year's resolution. I intended to write 52 letters this year - one each week . I think I wrote 5. I found I simply had very little to say to people, given that I communicated with them by e-mail, facebook, text message and the like; and anything I was likely to write in a letter, they would have heard already.

    Maybe I need to take a month off facebook to write letters.

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