I wrote a poem once that included a line about love letters written on paper somehow being more convincing than their digital counterparts. At the time I was writing emails to a friend far away and every time I hit send, I felt like there was just a little something missing.
For a girl who always wanted to be a writer, it’s no surprise I spend a lot of my time playing with words. But they’re always words on a screen. So rarely do I get to see and experience those words in print. I used to wonder with amazement how writers could spend hours with their handwritten manuscripts – concurrently admiring and despising the words crossed out and rearranged in blue, black, red ink. Red ink looks so angry on the page, but it’s so compelling.
Dissecting the anatomy of every sentence – why change that word? Why choose another? What made that word better, stronger, softer?
Now in my work, I thrash out words, flinging them into the digital world as if I have an endless supply. It’s so hard to choose your words so selectively – there is no margin to the paper, no running off the end of the page or abruptly changing the size of my scrawl to eek out another syllable or two onto the page.
I don’t want to make digital things always. I want to smell paper and ink, newsprint and binding glue. I want to write the kinds of phrases that people are compelled to write out onto Post-It notes, stuck to monitors. *A permanent indelible mark.
The kind of work you can write as an inscription on the inside cover of a book or one day worthy of printing inside hardbound covers. To write the kind of work you give to someone you love like you are exchanging a great secret, entrusting some great treasure into the hands of another.
And therefore, just like that – I am a writer after all. Tucked inside a leather journal, fit to bust – all the good words, I’ve been saving them up to pass on as delicious mysteries, as if to say ‘Here it is, my whole heart and every crevice of imagination tucked into a binding I’ve made just for you.’