Saturday, March 08, 2014

What has happened to pen and paper?

Yesterday, I heard a piece on the radio about the fact that Staples (the office supply store) is doing some downsizing.  People just don't need as much ink and paper any more!

In fact, as I am typing this on my tablet, there is a  notebook and a pen sitting idle beside me.  I had been writing on paper and then decided that it is a waste to do it twice.  Twenty - eight years ago, I wrote a 30 page paper.  I mean I WROTE it on paper with a pen.  Over the course of a weekend, I had drawn together the research that I had been gathering for over a month.  After about 30 hours of writing and editing, I had a stack of scribbled on note cards and paper that I had edited into my draft of that paper. It was finally FINISHED!  Except for one thing, I had to type it!!  That took me another 15 hours!  I remember thinking how much I wish I had a computer so that at that point, all I would have had to do was push the print button! 

But, when I finally did get that computer, I remember how hard it was at first to make that transition to composing at the computer.  To type my thoughts directly into the computer was so different than translating them onto paper first and then typing them.  Taking the thoughts directly from my head and putting them into a file on the computer was a completely different exercise than putting them on paper with a pen.

What has happened to pen and paper?

As I am typing this now on my tablet, I am seated in a room full of books. This is a reading room in a seminary library.  The shelves are lined with books, but as I took a closer look, I realized that they are all periodicals!  Most of them are bound into yearly collections.  On the binding of each is stamped the title of the periodical as well as the year.  I haven't seen one in here that is more recent than 2011... most stop about 2008 or 2009....

At first I thought, oh, the more recent editions must be on the computer... but then it occurred to me.. maybe many of them are no longer published...

What has happened to pen and paper?

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