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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pens and Pencils.”

When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?

Funny you should ask! I do this pretty often, and am trying to do it more. There is something about writing by hand that makes me feel more connected to the process than banging away at a keyboard. For instance:

  • I am handwritten-letter pen pals with my friend Kam Oi Lee. In fact, it’s my turn to write to her. (The postcard I sent from the UK doesn’t count as a letter.) I do sometimes bang out letters to her on my manual typewriter, because that’s hilarious and fun. We still count it as handwritten, because my terrible dependence on the computer’s DELETE key is patently obvious in these missives.
  • I do Morning Pages by hand.
  • I keep my Writing Log by hand.
  • I do my outlining by hand.
  • I do some of my freewriting by hand, too.

I do occasionally get frustrated by the slowness of handwriting, and by my tendency to try to write too fast, and thus make mistakes and have to correct stuff. But I just remind myself to slow down, think it out, and then write. The worst for me is the Morning Pages, which I’m always trying to cram in before the real world intrudes (i.e., before my husband gets up).

I should go finish today’s Morning Pages, maybe.

Dictionary Day: Volume XI, “A”

The Dictionary Project is an exploration of The Century Dictionary and Cylopedia, a twelve-volume set printed in New York in 1901. The Project runs from October 2014 to September 2015, and matches volume numbers to calendar months. Volume XI is one of two New Volumes published in 1909, eight years after the original ten-volume set came out. Volume XI covers new terms from A – L.

The Prefatory Note for this volume notes in its opening paragraphs that English vocabulary has grown at a prodigious rate since the original dictionary was published, no dictionary of a living language is ever complete, they’ve been accruing and cataloging new words, and what lies within the pages of the two New Volumes is mostly scientific and technical terms. But we mustn’t let that stop us, so let’s have a squizz, shall we?

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