I like writing.
I'm not talking about the process of academic writing, although I do like the sense of achievement when a chapter, paper, article or lecture is finished (this does not happen often enough - especially the personal research related ideas there!). I enjoyed writing my PhD thesis, although the final deadline and the re-writing processes immediately before that were not too much fun. What I'm talking about here is actually writing. By hand. With a pen.
On my way to my admin job the other day - I know this sounds strange - I felt an almost overwhelming need to write something. Anything. And I realised how much time I have spent at a computer, or shuffling papers, scribbling quick, untidy, notes or using mini post-its to mark pages relevant to lectures. It's been AGES since I have sat down and written by hand anything longer than a sentence or two, a 'happy birthday, love from me' in a card or a brief phone message scribble. And at work I had to go straight back into scribbling notes, emailing, filing etc.
Today I addressed an envelope in my very best joined up handwriting and I felt strangely pleased. I like how my careful handwriting looks (not wanting to boast too much, it is quite pretty) and it is much more satisfying than typing a letter or an envelope.
Marking undergraduate exam scripts earlier in the summer, I realised how few of them hand-write anything (either that, or the teaching of handwriting in schools has declined since I was taught 'joined up writing' and then allowed to use a fountain pen). I know no one does their best writing under the time-pressured conditions of exams, but still, some were barely legible.
I think the decline of handwriting is very sad. Not that I would do away with the wonders of word processing packages for my academic writing - cut, copy, paste makes drafting so much easier (even if sometimes starting to draft is actually easier for me with a pen and paper). But I am going to start doing more handwriting - letters to friends for example. I think - even in the increasingly computerised world where communication is almost instant through emails and social networking sites - people like to get mail. I know I do. And perhaps that is precisely because it is so rare for people to take time to actually write anything these high-tech, high-speed days.