Writing vs Typing

picture of handwriting compared to typesetting

Beautiful expensive pens.

The Wall Street Journal often features luxury items that are out of the range of all but the upper .001%. The New Status Symbol? Think Ink featured Marc Newson Pens by Hermès for a mere $1,670 and the $400 El Casco Stapler.

Since I love pens, I read the article with gusto. I am not attracted to hand-made solid gold fountain pens, but I do appreciate fine art.

Besides digging into the hardware, the writers also delved a bit into why writing a message by hand is more meaningful than typing off an email.

I agree.

The article includes an interview with Tom Dixon, whose London-based furniture, lighting and interior design firm also sells fine pens and pencils. I disagreed with part of his thought in reference to those who handwrite, “Maybe superior communication is a more thoughtfully, artfully and carefully constructed message.”

When I write a personal email, I spend time going back and editing the content, such that my final thought truly says what I mean.

I do love writing letters by hand. My brother, who lives in Texas, is the recipient of the bulk of my handwriting.

As he could attest, few of those letters contain anything of great significance. But I enjoy the experience of dragging a smooth ballpoint across the back of a scrap letter-sized piece of paper. The resulting letters are more me than Helvetica or Myriad.



hand-written note on the back of an old postcard

Write with your hand.

This old postcard is one my dad left me, before he left.

Putting a pen (or pencil) to paper is an entirely different experience than typing on a keyboard. Feeling the pen tip (or graphite) move across paper produces a deeper feeling than hitting keys. Every character you produce is a small act of creation.

I have a bunch more of my dad’s postcards. I’d love to write to you on one. Just leave a comment on this post. I’ll send you an email to get your address, and then a postcard will magically appear in your mailbox, at the speed of snailmail.

Sending one back is completely optional.


Wall Street Journal vs. Motor Trend

Wall-Street-Journal-vs-Motor-TrendFine wine or MD 20/20? You spend your money and take your choice.

I enjoy reading a variety of publications to observe writing styles, and there’s good and bad writing. I was delighted to see reviews of the new Nissan Versa Note in both Motor Trend (MT) and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). One was sublime, and the other was — well — ridiculous:

Versa-tile: The Note’s aero-friendly exterior may not boost its speed, but provides a comfortable and airy interior” (MT).

And no, the Nissan Versa Note isn’t a great inexpensive car. Actually, it is a shambles, a car so out of step with the best in its segment, it almost has an early 1970s East German vibe to it” (WSJ).

I am sure that the WSJ’s Dan Neil makes quite a bit more money per word than the MT writer. You do get what you pay for — at least in this instance.

Reading the WSJ review was so fun that I laughed out loud at least three times. Well done, Mr. Neil. In contrast, I winced several times while reading the MT review.

My friends, take care in what you do today. If possible, bring others delight rather than pain.

1. I like the appearance of the Nissan Versa Note, but Mr. Neil’s review made it clear that I will never own one, no matter how inexpensive it may be.

2. The bad grammar reflected by the wrong use of a comma in the MT quote did occur in that article.
3. I left out the name of the MT writer, as an act of mercy.