I have never been more aware of how our writing tools are taken for granted than when I was asked to find my own, out of nature. Living on campus without a car left me a little short on options when it came to finding not only something to write with, but something to write on. I considered the tried and true “scrawling in the dirt” method, but I wanted something a bit more permanent and a lot more transportable. After all, writing in the soil with a stick can certainly get your idea across, but that idea can’t be carried very far. I thought about burning messages onto bark, but I lacked the Girl Scout training required in starting a fire with two sticks rubbed together, and it would be stretching the guidelines of the project to say that a Bic lighter is ‘found in nature.’ So I waited, day after day, knowing that at some point I would be hit by true inspiration and find that perfect writing implement, along with its optimal writing surface.
Well, I wasn’t. So the day before the project was due I picked up some apples at the campus grocery store and found a proper fruit-puncturing device (namely a twig) on the ground in the park. I sat down at my table with my tools laid before me, thinking about what to write. Some eloquent lines of Shakespeare? An inspiring Walden quote? A moving proverb? No; I read all of these from texts, which had been written, published and distributed using human technology. It had to be original. Finally, for lack of something more profound, I etched into the apple (by puncturing the skin with tiny holes): This wasn’t easy. It wasn’t Shakespeare, but it was true; it hadn’t been easy. Our writing tools are a lot more complicated tha...
... middle of paper ...
...on to the technology more than the technology itself that will form our means of expression; computers simply utilize a new way to exchange thought, just as man did when he wrote the first word. And they beat using an apple and a twig.
Ong, Walter. “Writing is a Techonology that Restructures Thought.” Writing Material: Readings from Plato to the Digital Age. Ed. Tribble, Evelyn B. and Anne Trubek. New York: Addison Wesley Longman Inc., 2003: 315-34.
Baron, Dennis. “From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies.” Writing Material: Readings from Plato to the Digital Age. Ed. Tribble, Evelyn B. and Anne Trubek. New York: Addison Wesley Longman Inc., 2003: 35-52.
Plato. “Phaedrus.” Writing Material: Readings from Plato to the Digital Age. Ed. Tribble, Evelyn B. and Anne Trubek. New York: Addison Wesley Longman Inc., 2003: 360-3.
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