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Do you still have the write stuff - or are we all in danger of reverting to type?

Opinion

Putting screens to one side can hand you the opportunity to shut out the noise, writes Rebecca Levingston (by hand)

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Would it make a difference if this column was handwritten?

This week, I’m literally putting pen to paper because I’m sick of looking at screens. Too much trauma and distraction.

Plus, if I’m always online, I might end up falling down a Ted Lasso shaped internet hole when I need a serotonin hit to compensate for the worldwide web of woe.

So I’m scrawling this in black ink on a notepad as a first draft. Gives me time for some introspection. Metacognition. My psychologist Dad tells me it’s thinking about thinking.

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything more than jotted notes alongside lists of stories and talent to chase. Key words and numbers. Sometimes numbers as key words. #DonutDay

Wow, my handwriting is really messy. I almost feel like I’ve lost coordination when it comes to cursive. Now that I look, my writing is a mishmash of printing and running writing.

Is mishmash a word? I don’t have spell-check on this notepad. I don’t have speel check to check. I just misspelled the word spell. Is that some kind of Freudian confidence slip?

Wonder how many words I’ve written now. No word count to check.

Curiously, I do feel like my brain is functioning in a slightly calmer way. It’s quite soothing.

The loops on my l and g letters are fun as a flourish. Like an artist with a paint bush, but I don’t have to worry about art critics. My sometimes illegible handwriting is a secret code just for me.

Pause: I’m doodling now. Inky swirling circles that could be a flower or a hurricane.

If I was online, I might look up Louisiana to check on Hurricane Ida. Then I’d get sidetracked by weather drama and end up watching compilations of extreme storm reporters yelling at the camera in sideways rain.

Go inside!! Should I use two exclamation marks? What are the rules of grammar? Or is it punctuation? I’ve asked too many questions now haven’t I? No checks on my pad and pen set up.

Ever so often I write a simple word and just leave out a letter – did you notice? My brain to handwriting coordination is not as good as it used to be it seems. When did I peak?

I learned to type on a black clunky typewriter when I was 12 or 13. Left hand first – even with a weak pinky finger – a s d f. Right hand next – much stronger – ; l k j. Eventually, the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog. Ah, the sentence that uses every letter of the alphabet.

Now I want to Google the origin of that sentence. See what the Internet has done to my brain. I bet I’d search, click, then find videos of sleepy dogs which would be incredibly soothing. And never-ending. That’s the thing with the Internet… it never ends. Sometimes I want it to.

So that’s why I’m handwriting this week. I want to shut out the noise, the outrage, pressure and anger. Maybe it says more about the algorithms of my social media feed that going online feels like a rolling car crash of emotion albeit coupled with hilarious TikToks.

Handwriting this column really does feel better. Something bubbly is happening in my brain. Ha! Remember bubble writing? Fat, fun letters – S was always the big challenge.

Do I feel better because handwriting reminds me of being a kid? Maybe. When I pause to think, my pen is poised. Dangling with possibility. Until the ink runs out. Or the words are crossed out. Don’t delete – acknowledge your mistakes. Keep the evidence. Maybe there’s comfort in correction.

Time to count the words. Then I’ll type them up. I hope I’m enough.

Oops, another Freudian slip.

 

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