Some of you, who are not pure of heart and spirit, may remember the joke people made when they got caught reading Playboy:
” I only read it for the articles.”
We all knew that was balderdash- people weren’t reading Playboy they were LOOKING at Playboy.
I’m not here to judge- and if you want to look at pictures of naked people be my guest.
What I’m here to do is point out that people are dragging that sold old punch line out and they’ve applied it to…
Facebook is all about the pictures- we just have a hard time admitting that. So we write little quips and string together one liners and call it communication- but really it’s all about the pictures.
I think it’s fine if people are using Facebook as a way to communicate if they’re housebound or in a place where for some reason making actual human contact is a challenge.
Moreover not everyone can be a storyteller- so if you want to share your dinner or pictures of your dog and kids and night out with your friends with other people who do that- knock yourself out.
But if you’re a writer ( for example ) Facebook is a creative killer.
Instead of taking those ideas that could turn into actual stories or posts or articles, they disintegrate into a Meme. Or you skip it altogether and instead of turning a person you know or met by chance into an interesting character you just slam this on your wall and call it a day:
That’s not writing.
It will never be writing.
If you’re a writer don’t fool yourself, you’re not sharing an idea or telling a story. You’re doing the hi-tech version of writing on a bathroom stall.
In the old days picture above would have ended up in the margin of my notebook and I’d have turned it into a story about two people who end up willing to fight to the death for a parking space- and then when they realize they’re deadlocked they make a deal with the Devil.
Nobody ever will comment under that picture” and what happened next?”
The point I’m trying to make is, if I want to share something a story about my dog or how my same old daily bus ride is more then it appears or how I saw something strange or cruel or funny- I can do more then slam a picture on FB and post under it:
I’m supposed to be a writer. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to be or do.
I shouldn’t settle for doing less when I know I have so much more to offer.
The trick is letting go of Facebook.
I’ve bought into the notion that this is where people ‘live’ now and if I don’t live there I will not be living at all.
I didn’t find this story on a piece of paper floating down the street.
In the real world nobody uses paper to send notes- they don’t even Write anymore. They print. Probably in blocky letters because that’s what we see on our phone screens and laptop screens and what ever screen is attached to the electronic device that we HAVE to carry with us.
I mean, all of these devices are our secondary brains now.
You know that right?
My sister told me this story and it was so weird and almost unbelievable that I went and looked it up.
Some schools are no longer going to teach cursive and do you what some of them have offered as a reason? It’s a waste of time. Funny considering most kids can’t tell time on a clock with or without numbers on its face anymore.
I have a theory, people aren’t writing at all anymore. They communicate in pictures.
Check your Facebook wall.
We use pictures with little quips to express complete thoughts and ideas.
The Egyptians did that. They wrote in pictures- but guess what. Those symbols made the same sound ever single time.
You couldn’t use random pictures to express random ideas or to let someone know your dog or cat died ( pictures of rainbows over a bridge…that’s all you have to ‘write”) You just slam that on the interwebs with your dog’s name and everyone will know what you ‘mean’.
I remember when I was learning cursive in the 3rd grade ( I’d have been about 9 years old ) , we had these workbooks and until you got the exercises perfect you had to print your schoolwork.
I worked like a son of a gun to be ‘perfect’ so did my friend Darren.
But we had the worst penmanship in class and the only reason we got to final write in cursive was the entire class had perfected their penmanship so we got in by default.
Still, I loved writing in cursive even though our teacher told me and Darren in front of our entire class if he could had held us back and forced us to print for the rest of the year he would have.
So he came up with a new grading system just for us. I could get an ” A ” on my spelling test and an “F” in penmanship so it would knock my grade down to a ” B” or ” C”. Didn’t matter if I spelled every single word write and got the answers right on my test, he still bust me down to a lower grade because my writing was bad.
He didn’t do that to anyone else but me and Darren- because you know, we had the worst writing so it was a special system just for us.
Just as a side note, our teacher went on to be a Missionary. I had hoped he’d end up in one of those places where there were head hunters and cannibals and he’d end up with his head on a stick or stewing in a pot.. Instead he ended up in a place where he hated the people and they hated him right back. So he returned to our school a few years later where he talked about the ” ignorant savages” who couldn’t be saved ( you really shouldn’t talk smack in a small town ) and when I saw him I said, with genuine disappointment:
” Oh. You’re alive.”
My point is this: I worked hard to learn cursive- and I had to learn it from a teacher who thought cetain kids were ‘savages’. So it was a struggle and the day I was allowed to write in cursive was a big day- even though I took a verbal slap to the face on the day it happened.
Cursive isn’t just putting pen to paper- along with telling a good story, or writing a letter it should be pleasing to the eye and the brain. It takes time and it’s worth it.
It actually helps you think about what you’re writing when you can’t just throw up a picture or race across a keyboard.
For a moment, just consider the Egyptians.
Consider all of the work that went into it when they wrote.
When you look at what they wrote you can see the beauty and the grace in it.
What’s wrong with having that in your life? With being able to create it, even if it’s just on a shopping list or a note telling your kid to feed the dog.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it at all.
We could all do with a little more of those two things in our lives.