I've been meaning to post about this article for a while. It's been patiently waiting for me in my "to be blogged" pile. Skip the Paris Cafes And Get a Good Pen was in the Wall Street Journal on September 29th.
In it, Mark Helprin writes:
The fewer tools the better, and they need not be costly or
complicated. Whether you use a pencil, a pen, an old typewriter or
something electrical is largely irrelevant to the result, although there
is magic in writing by hand. It's not just that it has been that way
for 5,000 years or more, and has engraved upon our expectations of
literature the effects associated with the pen—the pauses;
considerations; sometimes the racing; the scratching out; the
transportation of words and phrases with arrows, lines and circles; the
closeness of the eyes to the page; the very touching of the page—but
that the pen, not being a machine (it does not meet the scientific
definition of a machine), is a surrender to a different power than those
of mere speed and efficiency.
In short, a pen (somehow) helps you
think and feel. And although once you find a pen you like you'll
probably stick with it the way an addict sticks with heroin, it can be
anything from a Mont Blanc to a Bic.. . .
Still, don't hurry. Live dangerously. People love to look at the rough
and scarred original manuscripts in the display cases of the New York
Public Library or in facsimile editions. It's not just because it brings
them to the kind of authenticity one cannot help but treasure but
because they know that if there is, indeed, magic, it is here to be
seen, in worn pages that glow with concentration, genius and love.