Thoughts on Paper

As is happening more and more, I find myself typing everything on a keyboard. Except for jotting down notes on packages and packages of post it notes that cycle from whatever surface they get stuck to, then into the garbage can eventually. A never ending stream of post it notes; at least it seems that way to me. But today, I actually set out to write a note to a friend, the old fashioned way, with pen and paper. And a thought crossed my mind that had never really surfaced before. I was writing on what was once living plant tissue turned to paper. This page was composed of, on a molecular level, cells of a once alive species of earth. And I was writing on that tree’s corpse.

This thought, fleeing through my synapses at …well some considerable  speed, managed to slip it’s head into the conversation in my brain by saying, ‘Hey, do you know you’re writing on a corpse?’ And just like that I was off on a tangent. A slanting plane, that I was trying to keep level and straight, but imagination then stuck his head into the door and added to the fray with ‘It could be a hundreds of year’s old tree, a hundreds of year’s old corpse.’

I paused, my pen’s tip hovering a mere cat’s whisker width from the page. For some reason, and I had no idea at this point why, because I wasn’t even in control of my thoughts anymore by now, but for some reason a random thought also decided to join this growing party in my head, by saying, ‘you know, it could be said that you are tattooing a dead corpse with that ink pen, a very old and dead corps. A  tattoo artist indeed.’  

I Know. You can’t make this stuff up, right? So now I am an artist, tattooing with ink, on a dead corpse of a tree, which was transformed into this piece of paper before me with the word Dear in blue…tattoo. Dear who? Who was I writing a note to, and why was I writing and not typing an email? And don’t sit there and read this and say this has never happened to you. It’s the same feeling as arriving in the kitchen and wondering why in the world did I come in here? Then you remember the popcorn. And, that’s when I went out to the kitchen to make popcorn. Well, I had to, you see? I needed something to munch on while I was trying to remember who I was writing a note to and why. Well then I needed to make a list of possible people it could be, and cross reference that list to my email, because it might be possible the person who I was writing to didn’t have email, hence the old fashioned…well you get the idea. That’s when I started writing this, so you will excuse me. I have a lot of work to do.

OK, I know it’s been hours. There was supper, and supper cleanup, and after supper desert (That I snuck past my better half) that was the best ever chocolate and peanut butter ice cream with those little chunks of peanut butter filled chocolate morsels, well need I say more. It was on the fifth read through of this, I’m not even sure what this is… a ramble I guess, that I started typing this second half, or maybe second quarter, I don’t know. Having come to my senses as it were, I am no longer having run on thoughts that interrupt my normal thinking. I am wondering about imagination though. Where does it come from? Did my imagination take over back there for a bit, or more likely, did I let my imagination take over?

Well I slept on that thought…that last thought. It is now the next morning. I looked at this mess of words I have written, finger poised on the Backspace button, but unwilling to press and erase this jumble of letters and disconnected thoughts on paper and imagination.  For my imagination to allow me to think about a piece of paper as once having been alive, and just as alive as I am here and now doesn’t boggle my mind as much as it teases it. My imagination teases my brain to fire a different way, sending electrical impulses through a chemical bath that mysteriously transmits to my fingers…what? Words only until they tie together in a complete sentence with the right combination of words to somehow sew it all together. If you are reading this, there is some resolution for your curiosity. I did finally remember who I was writing to and why, and the note was finished, tattooed to the dead tissue that was the card. On the front a simple word in red flowery design saying Hi. On the inside, simple words written in blue, in a shaky script that is my unpracticed art form of cursive writing. I don’t know why this process happens. This jumble of seemingly random thoughts that trigger an active imagination to start to build and construct an endless stream of letters, so that when the eye reflects the white image of fake paper on the computer screen, and also the black letters in contrast, then sends the image to chemical receptors and then into and onto my brain to cipher and translate it into something I can read. Why now does this seem to mystify me? Why now after half a century of living and breathing and never giving a second thought to such things, am I in awe of my own physiology? These questions may never get answered, and that’s OK, because the ‘why’ isn’t as important as the ‘who’. The who is a combination of many things, molded from many experiences and feelings, and at the end of the day, when the ‘who’ lays down do rest and sleep and dream, the ‘why’ gets recharged and ready for a thousand more tomorrows.

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Paper

  1. Lockie,
    I find you have so conversational a voice, it really invites me in to read more, to poke about on this blog and see what other thought children you’ve cast amongst the interweb.
    I enjoy the act of writing longhand, the satisfaction of pages filled with my blue scratching and scribbles is different that having finished a typed piece. It’s not the same as typing, maybe it’s the corpse of the tree, adding something to the moment….

    • Thank you Robin, for reading. I think it’s up to us who still know how to write, to lobby to get cursive back into the schools. I fear this form of art will slowly fade until it will be a forgotten art. Perhaps it is too late.

      • At the risk of sounding out of touch? Have they stopped teaching cursive at school??
        My godson was taught in class to read (I kid you not) a digital clock. They didn’t cover how to “tell time” as I would have considered the skill…

      • To my knowledge, Robin, cursive is not being taught anymore, at least not here in my neck of the woods in Canada. In fact there is a move starting up in various circles (home schools etc.) to start lobbying to bring it back. Studies have shown that graduates going into University can’t sign the necessary forms to get student loans, or how to write out a check, or sign their own names. Check it out online.

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