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June


Putting Pen to Paper. Wednesday June 28, 2017

It won't surprise most of you to hear that your Monday writer Lex and I are friends off the page, so to speak. We do in fact speak to each other; but mostly – we write. We are both writers, after all.

Yesterday morning Lex posted a video on his timeline about a new tablet which allows you to read (like any tablet) but also to write, using a stylus like a pen or pencil, and to sketch. Apparently, this remarkable tablet will replace all your notebooks and sketchpads with one slimline screen.

As Lex pointed out, you could pay nigh on $500 for one of these nifty little gadgets, or you could just spend a fiver on a beautiful new notebook and a jazzy pencil to go with it.

I don't know about you, but I love the act of writing. I don't mean what I'm doing now, tapping keys on my keyboard and seeing the neat letters appearing in Calibri font, 11 point, on the screen before me; I mean that act of putting pen to paper, of drawing those intricate curves and lines, making up characters that transform into words, which then create meaning.

There is a magic and a sensuality in it. There is the velvety smoothness of the pencil, or fountain pen, as it loops and swirls across the page. There is a ritual and soothing rhythm in writing; watching as mysterious patterns appear on that page, as they convey mystical meaning beyond mere markings, as they transform into pictures inside your mind…

Have you ever sat at midnight, by the light of a candle, writing a love letter to a friend, in purple ink using a quill pen? Have you ever poured out your deepest feelings in that ink, onto the paper?

Even if that letter is never sent (and believe me, many of those letters are better never sent), the act of writing them has been both therapeutic and beneficial.

The therapeutic benefits of pencil and paper do not necessarily employ words. We have all of us come across the colouring books for adults. As children, we lost ourselves for hours just "colouring in". As grown-ups, we can still find solace in the disciplined freedom of colouring in.

I prefer the equally disciplined, but more freeform expression of Zentangle; a formalised version of doodling. Although beautiful pieces of art can be created using these repetitive patterns, the joy is in the meditation of creation. As your hand and pen move across the paper in a ritual dance, your mind is freed, even while remotely tethered to the strokes of the pen.

So, I would urge you: leave the emails and the texts aside for a while. Write that thank you note by hand. Send a handwritten love letter to that special person (and love letters need not be always about romantic love), create some art with your doodles. Pen a little magic into your life.

The purple ink is optional.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.


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Comments

Molly Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 1:22am

Hi Mary. I love writing and sending or receiving a handwritten note or card, it is so much more personal. However my handwriting is not good enough to write a letter anymore and it hurts my hand! Can I compromise, and type a letter, with a brief handwritten message at the end as I sign off? I love notebooks. My husband bought me three for my birthday (most would prefer a diamond ring, but bless him, he knows I like notebooks and I don't care much for jewellery!) and I scribble away in them (and then usually cannot understand what I have written) but I agree, you cannot beat the old pen and paper. Molly xx

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 7:26am

What a lovely husband. A very dear friend once did something similar for me! Very thoughtful.

LP Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 9:56am

Hi Mary,
What a beautifully written blog!
I bet you have beautiful handwriting.
I once went on a handwriting course and love to take my time to make mine look nice, it doesn't come naturally to me, but I'm not bothered, I can spell! (most of the time! ;)).
I bought myself a calligraphy set and it's on a shelf with all sorts of similarly relaxing mindful activities...
You can guess how often they come off that shelf!
I'm keeping them though, no matter how much decluttering I do!

I know it's not just about the appearance of handwriting,( although personally I do enjoy things that are pleasing to ( my) eye! :) I agree it's the content the effort, the little thoughts that really count.

You've inspired me to make contact with distant friends with a hand written letter.
Thanks for a lovely and uplifting blog Mary.
Well wishes to you, your mate Lex :) and all LPxx

Adrian Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 9:56am

I so agree Mary. Pen and paper first.
oh for the freedom of a blank page and wondering what comes.
I like writing a question or proposition on the top of the page and seeing what I can write to respond or find to justify.
Best
Ax

Rachel Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 10:31am

Hi every body pretty new to this their sounds some really good useful ideas. That sounds great idea Adrian about putting question proposition on paper. and see what you can justify could be a good way of pin point reason for mood looking for patterns and help find ways of finding coping mechanism or stopping a low mood.
Thinking of starting a daily journal to help me focus on positives.
all best
Rachel .

Orangeblossom Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 10:51am

This has definitely helped me in the past. Will probably go on being helpful.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 11:46am

I have found mind mapping to be very helpful. http://www.tonybuzan.com/about/mind-mapping/

Orangeblossom Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 10:49am

I have been keeping a journal for years. I tried writing/keying it in the electronic device but I found that my thoughts didn't flow. Now I fill in loads of notebooks all dated, which are stored in our loft. I love note-books and different coloured pens for recording quotes. Last week I discovered that a friend also was pulled to various note-books. Her birthday is in a couple of weeks time. I know that I shall give her a note-book.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 11:43am

Oh, the glory of coloured pens!

Another Sally Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 10:49am

Hello everyone, I often feel I would like to write, or keep a journal. However, the things I want to write are mainly about my worries and I don't want anyone else to read them. I find it difficult to express myself on paper. I would also like to write poetry or stories but have never really got started.
I do hand write notes occasionally, so that a daughter or friend can receive something personal in the post - in fact I feel moved to do that today.
Thank you Mary, I do love to read your posts.
Hugs to all who need them today.
Another Sally

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 11:42am

Hello AS. My mother has kept a diary for years; a diary that has chronicled her (often unhappy) life. That she remains a kind, generous and trusting woman is a testament to the strength of her personality and her quiet faith, about which she will never talk. She has exacted a promise from her children that we will never read those diaries, even after her death. I know we will all honour that request. Maybe you too, could ask that of your loved ones. For me, well, you Moodscope tend to get my diary dished up to you every Wednesday, although sometimes only after the events have matured in the dark cave of history (like the best cheddar cheeses) long enough to have developed the flavour of wisdom. (And there's another blog in that, I feel).

Poppy Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 1:09pm

I think I read somewhere that a study explored the reason we are so attracted to coloring as adults. Turns out we release oxytocin as we glide and flit and skim across the pages. I wonder if the same it true of writing. Something is intensely inviting about the feel of writing instrument against a impressionable substrate.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 3:15pm

impressionable substrate! What a wonderful term. Stealing!

Poppy Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 12:17pm

Thanks

Kelly Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 1:13pm

I write in a real paper journal still. It has a different feel to it. I can write faster with a keyboard but there's something about handwriting.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 3:15pm

There is indeed, Kelly.

The Gardener Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 2:38pm

Dear Mary - I, like your mother, have 30 years of diaries - what do I do with them? Lots of woes therein, but also quite historical documents - because I note extraordinary events - my handwriting is awful - so though I write loads, it is, and has been for yonks, through this media. I send cards often - and am amazed at the delight with which they are received - because so few people write nowadays. It's not surprising people don't send cards, birthday or Christmas - they cost a fortune and have to be posted - quite often a real chore. Another Sally - I recommend everybody to write a diary - especially if you travel a lot - photographs just cannot cover enough - particularly feelings. And you may find writing everything, even if it's all woes, a very good catharsis - and the act of writing may recall the better bits, where I find thinking I dwell on the woes. Although I am a flibbertigibbet par excellence never doodled.

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 3:17pm

I make birthday cards for people, and usually they love them. It gives me pleasure to make them too. And yes - a photograph can never catch the emotion, or the scent of the air, or the feel of the brush of grasses around your ankles, or that annoying buzz of a mosquito in your ear!

Poppy Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 12:23pm

Gardener, you must save your journals for family descendants—children, grandchildren, nieces/nephews, other? What valuable resources for those who will come after you! What amazing sources for so many things! Could they change society's perspective of mental health? Could they inform the decisions of youth? Could they become archives of valuable history lessons? What a treasure you have created.

Caroline The Moodscope Team Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 2:44pm

Mary, I do love notebooks and lovely pens, but I find when I write now, because I very rarely do, my handwriting is awful - I actually find it quite hard to write as I've typed everything for the last 15 years. I kept a diary once for a year when I was 15. My children found it recently and had a great laugh at my expense.

Jul Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 3:00pm

I'm the same as you Caroline. I am not saying you have one, but I've almost got a stationery fetish ha ha. I love and buy notebooks but hardly ever write in them or if I do, only a few pages get used up. I could never keep diary these days. It would be full of negative woes which no-one, least of all my children would want to read. Gardener's diaries sound very interesting with their historical perspective. Julxx

Mary Wednesday Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 3:18pm

Like you, Caroline, I kept a diary when I was 15. Fortunately, I found it and destroyed it before my children could lose their final illusions about me!

Molly Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 6:01pm

I also kept a diary in my teenage years, they are choc a bloc with writing, and yes, full of woes ! Rather sad to read. The only happy entries are when I had managed to get a kiss (or even a smile) from my latest crush :-) xx

Mary Wednesday Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 10:50am

Oh Molly - I never even got a second look from any of mine! :(

Angela Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 3:25pm

I am grateful to all of my fellow moodscopers for your blogs and replies. One day I'll have to write one.

Lex Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 5:43pm

Today is a beautiful day to begin... Angela ;0) And maybe the right writing tools would act as a form of encouragement. What would you choose, pen or paper or computer? Lined paper or blank?

Lex Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 5:46pm

Oh for the love of fonts, of calligraphy, of differing weights of paper, and of the various softness and hardness ratings of pencils - 2B or not 2B. Then there are the joys of different erasers - the putty rubber that can be molded into the shape you need. But supreme in the pantheon of delights is the old school style sharpener. The one that clamps to the table and shouts, "Come blunt instruments of thought and find new life at the sharp end!"

Mary Wednesday Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 10:51am

Oh Lex, you wrote the rest of this blog - the bit I didn't have the room for in 500 words. And yes - that great restorer of sharpness, that wonderful big sharpener that sit on one side of the teacher's desk! Pencils are wonderful - and their writing lasts longer than any other medium - except perhaps words chiselled into stone!

Geoff Wed, Jun 28th 2017 @ 7:33pm

I still keep a daily journal/diary, and handwrite each note. I don't think that my handwriting is quite as neat as it used to be, but I guess that I don't practice as much as I used to. Crafting with some young children last Sunday, I saw how amazed they were at the patterns they could make by using an array of coloured pens. Perhaps, as we've become older, we've lost some of that magic.

Mary Wednesday Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 10:52am

It can be regained, Geoff!

Jane SG Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 12:31am

Thanks for the blog Mary. I've just had a very lively discussion tonight about social media. I know this not the same as putting pen to paper but a point was made to me how social media, including texts and WhatsApp messaging can cause miss understanding. That it can't replace face to face interaction. I agree with this but I'm not sure what you do when there is little face to face interaction! Suppose I could write a letter....

Molly Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 1:50am

Oh so many misunderstandings, but I cannot see it getting any better, can you? Who will you write the letter to? Santa? You never know if you put it on your christmas list, he may deliver, providing you have a chimney :-) xx

Jane SG Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 5:35pm

This really made me laugh! Thanks Molly :) xx

Molly Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 6:53pm

Lol Jane :-) xx

Jane SG Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 12:33am

Ps I've scribbled many poems on the morning train into work!

Molly Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 1:46am

Hi Jane, I do that - scribble down poems - I am still trying to find that panic attack blog I wrote, I was on a plane at the time, and the woman next to me thought I was a journalist lol xx

Jane SG Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 5:36pm

Plz keep looking! I really want to read that blog!!! Xx

Molly Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 6:55pm

I will keep looking, if not I will write a new one ! Thank you for the encouragement Jane xx

Mary Wednesday Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 10:53am

I have just written a poem! Tonight is my weigh in night at Slimming World. I have just written a plea to the Genie of the Scales!

Jane SG Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 5:39pm

Would love to read it Mary xx

Nicco Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 1:17pm

Thank you for your blog, Mary. I agree. I love writing using fountain pen and ink, and I always write my greetings cards and any accompanying letters with it. I've had the same pen for over 40yrs which I found in a bin as someone had thrown it away. Unfortunately I do find, though, that typing is easier and quicker for me as I touch-type. I delayed getting a pc and sending emails for as long as I could but had to give in in the end and, I have to say, sometimes I'm glad I did and sometimes I'm not glad as it seems to generate more not less 'paperwork' (not 'paper' as such, but you know what I mean!) I find the same thing with books in as much as it's far nicer to feel the book in your hands, enjoy the illustrations, keep it by me with a bookmark between the pages, and I even love the smell of books so I don't think I'll be getting an electronic reader device. Though I can see how having one appeals to some - I have a friend who has one which means, she says, not having to store lots of books, and only keeping the really nice ones she wants to display on shelves. I can see that. Sorry - I got off track a little!

Jane SG Thu, Jun 29th 2017 @ 5:38pm

Hi Nicco, I'm totally with you on the books! No Kindle for me! I like the story about the pen. How lovely for something originally discarded to become such a valued item. How are you doing? Xxx

S Sun, Jul 16th 2017 @ 11:26pm

Personally, I keep a regular diary, which doubles as a sort of info-notebook. I'm quite a cerebral person though, and often find writing my thoughts leads down roads that are ridiculously bizarre and crooked. On the one hand, I have pages and pages of contemplations on the nature of existence, but before I know it I'm paralysed by existential horror.

Kind of detracts from the point.

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