Thanksgiving

Who wouldn’t be seduced by the idea of a holiday called Thanksgiving?

What’s not to like? But why is it immediately followed by something called Black Friday?
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day in the United States of America – but I don’t see why it shouldn’t be a day for giving thanks wherever we are or whatever tradition we follow……

Write an Unsent Letter to someone or something you want to thank – and that can include yourself or a part of your self.

The New York Times has discovered Gratitude Journals for this time of year .

Tell them they’re safe this year…..

For a poem about Thanksgiving, a discussion of how it developed as a holiday & what some writers are grateful for see The Writer’s Almanac

But if you prefer a little deer……

What’s the difference between writing by hand and typing?

Between E-mails and letters?

Having moved house 4 times in the last 10 years (across counties and continents) I’m amazed by what survives transition. I came across a box of letters going back decades – and what a random selection it seemed. I can’t imagine e-mails surviving for posterity in this way. There’s nothing quite like meeting yourself or an old friend on paper after all this time. Who knows, I may be moved to fill my fountain pen again (or maybe just a quick e-mail).

Seriously, there are differences between writing by hand and typing and journal writers have strong opinions about which is preferable. I have known people type their journals when the material feels too overwhelming for connecting the hand to the pen to the page.

Let me know what you prefer to use for what.


Handwriting – even if it’s illegible………..

Happy Thanksgiving wherever you are!


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11 Comments

  1. Kate Thompson

     /  December 5, 2011

    I think I’ll head for a cafe with my fountain pen right now.

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  2. Kate Thompson

     /  December 5, 2011

    So it seems that typing and handwriting both have their place. Someone told me that for dyslexics it is typing which works better.
    The actual tools of handwriting bring in another dimension. Sensuousness and flow seem to be recurring ideas and an important aspect of this discussion.
    Yesterday I heard someone say that she always began in longhand but once her ideas were flowing she moved to the keyboard because that was faster.

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  3. Jay carpenter

     /  November 28, 2011

    Re; Writing tools. I just love using my parker fountain pen and a variety of different journals, sometimes writing on pristine white paper and sometimes on a soft cream paper. Paper is always my preference. keyboards seem so lifeless tools to write with but these days the typed word is often a must. Also i enjoy writing with a fine felt nib. Long live pen and paper. šŸ˜‰

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  4. Dottie Joslyn

     /  November 26, 2011

    I journal by writing and on the computer depending on where I am. Both are satisfying to me. Writing longhand doesn’t give me any special feelings. In fact, it is often frustrating because I can’t keep up with my thoughts and my hand begins to ache. On the computer my thoughts flow right onto the screen more quickly and easily. I do most other writing on the computer, too. I guess I am a true product of the computer age! I love to decorate journals, though, and make them special. It feels good to then write in them.

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  5. I’m with you Dana. I would also add that when writing with a just right flowing pen on a blank page there is also the possibility of going right into a doodle, or pasting in an artifact. It holds a particular kind of openness and realness that the computer can’t match. And lately I’ve been really enjoying the act of decorating the cover of each journal, making it my own. It adds to the specialness of opening it up. Invites me into my own secret garden.

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  6. I much prefer writing longhand to typing. I’ve done both, having used online journal software and also having blogged off and on for a few years, but to me there is nothing that will ever replace the physical act of moving my hand across the page with a pen. As Natalie Goldberg has written about extensively, writing continuously with pen on paper is a meditative act that can quiet “monkey mind” and open the way into the deeper layers of self.

    The movement of hand across paper, line by line, is a deeply sensate experience. The regular, rhythmic movement lulls my mind when it’s full of chaos, grounding me in the physical act of writing as it also centers my thoughts and emotions. The act of writing itself is tactile, with the skin of the hand against paper rough or smooth a point of physical contact that somehow conjoins mind and material world. The sound of the nib of the pen on the page engages my hearing, ever so subtly, and the look of a favorite pen, and perhaps different colors of ink and paper of varying textures, engages my vision. When I journal time and time again in places that I love, familiar scents and flavors also become inseparable from the writing experience: the aroma of the particular brand of coffee at a favorite cafe where I go with my journal for breakfast, the taste of lemon in the glass of water that the server brings with my meal, the perfume of tulip poplar blossoms in spring at the river overlook where I go after breakfast to sit on a bench and write. Each of these things, and all of them together, help to evoke the state of mind that for me only comes with journaling. Keeping my journal practice simple, with pen and a spiral notebook, makes it portable enough that I can enjoy those benefits.

    The act of coming back to the journal, time and time again, particularly with a special pen or fountain pen in hand, is also a ritual that can evoke all of the spiritual and emotional qualities of any other act of devotion. After I’d been journaling regularly for six or seven years, I finally bought myself a very special fountain pen that I love, with cartridges of ink in a wide variety of colors. Making that purchase was an act of both commitment and commemoration — doing that somehow sealed the pact between my everyday self and my higher Self signifiying that journaling is, for me, the ritual that transports me from one realm of being into the other.

    That’s not to say that every time I journal I am so transported–there are plenty of times that I bore myself to tears with my writing and that it feels pointless, and the voice in my head gets all busy asking me “why bother.” But I continue to journal through that–and that, for me, is what makes it an act of devotion and of faith. I keep doing it because I believe in its power to transform my inner world. Wait, no– I keep doing it because I have FELT its power to transform my world… first inner, and then outer. My life is proof that it has done that, and that it continues to do so.

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  7. kim astrand

     /  November 25, 2011

    I personally think that handwritten is much better than email, and if it is handwritten, then it should be with a nice pen and good writing style. Then, it can be kept, or looked at again after receipt, much better than email. Much more personal.

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  8. Joanna

     /  November 24, 2011

    Re: writing preference – Fountain pen (or nice gel) for journal, always! Flows and just feels special-er. On my blog, which I consider a cross between a journal and “real” writing, I feel very comfortable typing. If I am stuck on my academic stuff I sometimes trick myself by writing it as a blog post but it is always longhand writing that gets me past any blocks. And so… I am thankful for writing, pen on paper!

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    • Kate Thompson

       /  November 24, 2011

      Joanna – that’s a ‘nice’ distinction – between journal & ‘real’ writing! Flow writing (longhand, of course) is a useful trick for overcoming resistance or writers’ blocks.

      So I’ll take that as a vote for pen on paper!

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  9. William Fraker

     /  November 24, 2011

    I am grateful for falling down and coming back up, for making mistakes and the possibility of amends, for second changes, for knowing forgiveness, for losing balance and recovering, for learning how to receive and return acceptance and understanding. These are not trivial gifts. They are like manna, the miracles that feed the soul on a daily basis. They broaden my heart. I know that without them I am blind and unable to acknowledge the creativity, joy, and kinship that surround me. I am both a speck and part of the grand creation and for that, I am grateful.

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    • Kate Thompson

       /  November 24, 2011

      Indeed, William, these are not trivial gifts – neither is recognising them a trivial act.

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