The task was seemingly straightforward; create a piece of writing without using a single form of technology. I didn’t think this would be much of a problem. I figured I could hand-write something instead of typing it or using a word processor and that would meet the requirements of the project. However, according to Dennis Baron in his essay From Pencils to Pixels the pencil is, in fact, a form of technology. Evidently, it was invented “by joiners, woodworkers specializing in making furniture, to scribe measurements for wood” (Tribble/Trubek, 42). Adding further to my obstacles, paper, being a created object, was not an option as well. This was turning out to be harder than I thought. After I pondered and thought through a myriad of options, I found it to be increasingly difficult to revert back to what felt like caveman days when writings were scratched on a stone wall using very sharp rocks.
When I had thought it through to what I thought was the fullest extent, I began preparing for this project trying to use the same premise as the very basics of the typewriter; to imprint letters on a surface and make them visible with the use of a substance that stands out visually from the surface. Unfortunately, this premise did not work for me as it had for Mark Twain, “one of the first Americans to buy what was, in 1874, a new-fangled novelty: a typewriter” (500). Easy it was for him to use such a technology, but how difficult it was for me!
I initially tried to create a writing technology without using technology by thinking of ideas that were detailed, complex, and difficult. My original idea, I found, turned out to be much more complicated than I had anticipated. I recruited my boyfriend and we wen...
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...s impossible to complete without using any form of technology at all. Although I enjoyed the discovery process and the creation of my writing technology, I can’t help but wonder how inconvenient it would have been for Thoreau to spend his time in the woods crushing berries and writing with a stick.
Baron, Dennis. “From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technology.” Writing Material: From Plato to the Digital Age. Ed. Evelyn Tribble, Anne Trubek. Addison Wesley Longman. New York. 2003.
Ong, Walter. “Writing is a Technology That Restructures Thought.” Writing Material: From Plato to the Digital Age. Ed. Evelyn Tribble, Anne Trubek. Addison Wesley Longman. New York. 2003.
Twain, Mark. “The First Writing-Machines.” Writing Material: From Plato to the Digital Age. Ed. Evelyn Tribble, Anne Trubek. Addison Wesley Longman. New York. 2003.