All the things I’ve written that are of any significance have been written in pen. On paper. This, right here - before these words existed in pixels, shooting violently onto your retina via outerspacial satellites and deep underground rats on wheels - this right here was crafted first through an inky snail-trail of analog thought, dragged purposefully and brain-speed-wise across smooth lined white paper. Surrounded by wood and sticky coffee rings and incandescent lighting and uncertainty and incompleteness - this is the space in which I write.
Which is why everything that I write in this way winds up being significant. I write to discover. I write because I don’t know.
I type when I do know. I either know and I need to let others know, or I know you know and I know that if I tell you that you know, in a tone we both know, and if I use code key words like “feedback”, “input”, “consider”, and “invaluable”, I know that you know you’ll have no choice but to tell me what you know, so that I can go about my tippity tappity know-it-all ways, and we can “sort” or “file” as necessary, safe in the knowledge that what is known remains known-solid, firm, tangible: typed.
But writing. Writing is for the spaces that are realer than the blue-blinking, face-flashing demands and informational exchanges. Writing is for pushing, for questioning, for discovering. Writing is for digging hands deep into the cool sandbox sand; for stopping short and turning back for that silvery reflection in the grass; for gazing deeply into the dark and letting the eyes go blurry, then sharpening on a sparkling piece of information sent more than a million years ago, perfectly timed for this very instant, and containing information far more valuable than anything conveyed by a pixel.
Writing is for pleasure. It’s for pain. It’s for grieving and for wishing. It’s for ranting, pathologizing, obsessing, cursing, blaming, rationalizing, forgiving, confessing, revealing, and for finally letting go. It’s for communicating with the part inside, that part that doesn’t really want this season’s trendy new bootie at 60% off - what it wants is to be fully seen and heard and held and understood. What it wants is to show up and shine without apologizing or explaining or prefacing or asking for permission.
The act of writing is the permission itself. The moment the pen hit the paper, it was given.
Sarah Elovich is a writer, performer and humorist based in Oakland, CA.