One of my friends on Facebook voiced a concern that struck a chord with me. In fact, it opened up an area of much discussion recently. My FB friend asked this question, “Is writing a dying art?” First let’s define writing. If writing is pen in hand and ink to paper, maybe in some societies it is a dying art.
Did you know that in many elementary schools they no longer teach cursive writing? That seems crazy to me. Are they saying those children should print their names or even worse, type it on a computer, tablet or smart phone? How will those students be able to read important historical documents if they aren’t familiar with cursive writing.
I think this is a mistake. Typing is too darn fast. There is no time to feel the flow of the words. Good writing should be similar to composing a song or even an opera. It flows. It has a heartbeat all its’ own. I’m just not sure the keyboard understands adagio (at ease) or allegro (lively).
Let me give you another example. I enjoy the game of golf. I don’t play as often as I did in the past but that’s my fault. But I did discover something interesting about my game many years ago. Golf has many things in common with our discussion of writing. When I play the game there is basically two ways I can follow my ball around the course. The first is with an electric cart and the second is on foot. Let me play a hole for you in each method and see if you understand what I mean.
I ride my cart up the tee box and sit until the group before us has teed off. I step out of my cart and take the first few steps carefully, remembering my knees have been bent and now must get ready to carry my weight. The first steps are pretty stiff but things loosen up and now I’m standing on the tee, waiting. Sometimes I feel I spend more time waiting than doing. I guess golf is also a boot camp for patience training.
I take a practice swing and I’m ready. I swing the driver, a little outside, unfortunately, and the ball takes off in a long looping slice into the short rough on the left of the fairway. I’ve done worse. At least it’s hittable. I sit back in the cart and zoom, we’re at my ball in an instant. I not only haven’t analyzed my last sliced shot, I also haven’t a clue about how to hit this shot. I’m there too quick. Do I swing the same? Do I swing different? I don’t have enough time to think and adjust. So I just hit the ball and guess what? It starts out down the middle and fades left, bounces once and rolls into to the pond guarding the left of the fairway. Crud, I hate this game!
Now, rewind please. I carry my clubs from the last tee to the next. I look at the hole while I hold my bag beside me. The fairway is pretty wide but there is an out of bounds on the right. The left has only a short rough. If I hit there, I would still have an open shot to the green and the rough would be easy to hit from.
I aim the drive down the right side, remembering I often slice the ball. The ball hits in the fairway but rolls into the left rough. I can play that. I pick up my clubs and start to walk. I can feel the weight of the bag of clubs on my shoulder. Maybe clubs were lighter when I was younger. That must be it.
As I walk to my ball I see the water guarding the left of the fairway. As I walk, I see my ball and trees to my immediate left. Those won’t come into play. What a beautiful day to be alive and enjoy this game. I suddenly thought, “My worst day of golf was better than my best day at the office.”
As I’m walking, I remember the grass will slow down the head of my club so maybe a 5 iron instead of the 6. I also guessed the grass would cause my club head to open up and maybe increase my fade left. Then I remember not to let my elbow fly away from my body, so my swing might not slice the ball so much. I reach the ball and set up to play the ball down the right side. I strike the ball pretty well with a little better swing than before. The ball fades from right to left and rolls up about a yard short of the green. Not bad! I put the 5 iron back in my bag, and take a few second to enjoy the view. Now it’s time to walk to the green and think about my putt on the way. Dang, I love this game!
So I must agree with my FB friend. There is no substitute for the flow of the pen across smooth white paper or the feeling of walking the back nine on a beautiful Spring day.
Next week: The electronic disconnect or why Millenials struggle with connecction.