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“And-O Tempora! O Mores!-to lose the soft warm touch of sheepskin, the knowledge that some lamb chop had died to create this beloved writing surface! Let us weep.” (Tribble& Trubek, pg. 9) Some of us may have wept over this project, weeping over how might to do this writing project. Many of us succeeded in coming up with a unique way to write with natural materials, a few of us cheated to by using limited technology and some of us failed to do the project. All of benefited because we were exposed or unexposed to our element, the writing technologies we as writers use everyday. I cheated since there cannot be found in nature a magnifying glass, which I used.
My ultimate method was to burn the letters, words and sentences into leaves from a tree. Though I did not weep, I did think twice about plucking the greenery from the tree. (Hey, those environmentalists have been hitting us hard since birth with idealistic guilt trips.) There can be a quite powerful little beam of light produced by the focusing of sunlight through glass, but since the magnifying glass cannot be found in nature it was considered cheating even if it is very simple and primitive. I could argue that it could have been an innovation of writing. I really entered my imagination for this project; pretending that this was a desire or goal of mine, to invent this technology or advancement as if it had never been invented before and was necessary.
Since the first words were created, the technology has been advancing. Since I was a young boy, I have been using that technology and this project helps me to realize what struggles and what successes I have encountered. We do not even need pen and paper. I learned to write with paper and pencil. Now, we use computers and voice-mail. These are technologies we did not have a few years ago. I have become so accustomed in such a short time with these brand new technologies. I struggled to find what would be acceptable for the assignment and while I was contemplating, the conclusions teetered between the real significance of the project and the silliness I felt because of not using the conventional, more superior, available technology.
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When I was in elementary school, specifically the grades three, four and five, I had to write a lot of “sentences” for being “bad”. At that time, I had a certain pride about being rebellious enough to have to be assigned “sentences”, the proof of being a rebel. They did not suspend me or call my parents for the thinks I did, they made me write with pen and paper. Now, I look back and am grateful for those teachers and bus drivers who made me write “sentences”. For one, my stamina was worked on with seemingly unending sentences. This allows me now to do the same thing without getting tired like some people do. Secondly, sentences with meaning and proper grammar were “burned” into my brain. My brain is now accustomed by means of rebellion. I learned to write.
Because of the history of my desire to write I took this assignment with a grain of salt and made it a little personal. I wanted to come up with a unique way to write, plus have something pretty durable and stable so that it would last and be able to be read for a long time. I came up with a few ideas which were not very durable or stable but they seemed like good ones because of the potential clarity they provided. It turned out that those ideas were not very clear either. The first choice I had was to use green grass as straight lines to make letters. Green grass is abundant in Michigan. But, they could not be connected or attached to one another or a surface to be of any good. I could not come up with an idea as of how to do this. Then I wanted to use bigger weeds to form the letters but I had the exact same problem. I thought that it would work and the size might help me overcome the problem I had with the green grass.
My final idea and the one I presented to class was a cool one by my standards. Sunlight had been used for many purposes throughout history, so why not to write with. I captured a beam of light in a magnifying glass. I thought of the idea just by noticing the big green leaves on my walk home from class. My initial thought was to scratch out letters but the leaves just ripped. Obviously God did not intend the leaves to be written on, because out of curiosity I tried a pen on the leaves too. Again, they ripped to shreds. So, I needed a more precise solution. “A common complaint about physicians is that you can’t read their handwriting.” (Tribble & Trubek, page 57) And, just like science, the situation presented itself. I grabbed my handy-dandy pocket watch with attached compass and magnifying glass and bingo-I used it for my project. I was running out of time and saw no other solution. I had to cheat. I was going to be late for class too.
If I had invented this clear method of writing sometime in past history, look what came from it; the compact disk and the laser printer. That is cool. My method is even portable and easy to read. On certain trees the leaves are lined up and attached to the branches so they read in order from left to right.
Since then I have been a writer. People said that not everyone can write, so I took that to heart. I already knew I could write and I have been enjoying it for years. I collected pencils and pens, wrote on blackboards and bus windows. I learned word processor at a young age and am proud of it all. Now I can add this to my list.
Tribble, Evelyn B. and Anne Trubek. Copyright 2003 by Addison Wesley Lingman, Inc.