When I was assigned to create a format for writing to take place on, I was shocked, to say the least. This project was unlike any I had encountered before in my years at school. I began to tax my brain up and down to come across a suitable way to write. I began thinking about what I could use in my very own home. Since I could not use a pen or pencil, I turned to the idea of carving my words into something, as the ancient Sumerians did. After all, as Walter Ong says, "The first script, or true writing, that we know was developed among the Sumerians in Mesopotamia [...] around the year 3500 BC." Ideas flew through my head about which medium to carve, such as wood, or even bread.
The plausibility of these formats got the better of them, however. Wood would create far too much effort for a simple school assignment, not to mention be possibly hazardous to my health (I don’t exactly trust my own physical abilities to keep me uncut in that particular process.) Bread would be a problem because of the spoiling nature of its own organic makeup.
Then, after much deliberation, I came to the decision of using a Styrofoam plate. It seemed a likely source for me to draw inspiration upon...after all, it was soft and malleable, perfect for leaving carven characters upon. It was small and light, providing for extremely simple transportation--in fact many could be carried at any one time. And most importantly, Styrofoam is non-biodegradable. That means that, with the proper storage and upkeep, a carved Styrofoam plate could be preserved indefinitely, leaving records for generations to come.
I decided, in my carving, to create the simple greeting of "Hi There!", as it would be simple to create, simple to understan...
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...riting itself, and the work that goes into it, I truly have a greater understanding of the inner workings of the act of writing, and therefore feel as though I have accomplished more simply by writing.
By having this dual appreciation for my work, both for content and for style, I can truly say that the project of creating my own medium has forced me to become not just a better writer, but indeed a better person for it.
Baron, Dennis. "From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies." Tribble and Trubek 35-53
Ong, Walter. "Writing is a Technology that Restructures Thought." Tribble and Trubek 315-337
Twain, Mark. "The First Writing-Machines." Tribble and Trubek 500-504
Tribble, Evelyn B, and Trubek, Anne, eds. Writing Material: Readings from Plato to the Digital Age. New York et al. Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. 2003
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