When I swipe the smooth glass of my device, I feel as though my hands and fingers are on the window-pane to my home – and I am outside, looking in. Locked out.
Whereas when I read a printed book and I touch the paper, I feel as though I am on the inside looking out into the world.
And then there’s the science side of this: paper is porous, glass less so. So I’m literally absorbed by the paper. I literally become one with something so tactile.
There’s a connection.
An invisible loop is formed between myself and a book.
And this mystery extends to writing on paper, too.
When I hand write with a pen, I can feel the loop between my brain, my arm, my hand the words and the space between the words and my eyes – all connecting in a circle of energy. And the words arrive on paper at a lovely pace.
Whereas when I pour words onto a screen through stream-of-conscious touch-typing, I feel more like I am creating content and less as though I’m writing words. I experience a low level-numbness; words feel less precious. People create content for the internet, they no longer write words. Words have become the stuffing for the headline. Words are stripped of their grand history, their lived-in ancient markings, their uncanny magic.
And I more readily notice my ‘mistakes’ when I see something in print. Whereas when I see a computer-screen in a film, I notice the screen’s flicker-rate shimmering in-and-out of reality.
Words on screen aren’t solid. Words become digital ghosts barely clinging to existence.
I need to feel anchored to the words on printed paper. I don’t want to shadowlessly float away, I need to feel real.
My hand print in wet concrete. A heart shape etched into a tree.