Let me just get it out of the way. I’d have preferred to title this, Medium Mindfuck (I love the urban dictionary definition of that decisive, aggressive compound word.) And when i say medium I’m talking about artistic canvas. I’m talking about that piece of, scrap of- that avenue for turning all the mind stuff into tangible stuff. Whether you’re a writer, a musician, a speaker, a baker, a painter, a pretender or a faker- you’ve got your bag of tricks- your tools and medium.
The tools and medium for artists are often obvious. A cook needs knives and mouths to feed of course. A ventriloquist needs his dummy and some dialogue. Photographers are an example of these choices being less obvious. They need a camera. But which type of camera? Do they only have one camera? (Likely not since almost every phone is smart and therefore an automatic second choice.) Say they have a variety of cameras, it’s likely they’ll have a variety of lenses, accessories and methods of developing their work. And so on. What I’m getting at, is that choices may very well begin to add up for a photographer, and other artists. Before art can even start, the artist may often face many decisions.
Decisions are so distracting for artists! Oh, those decisions! Oh the paralysis of choice! Oh, the creative curtain that falls! Oh, the mindfuck! Be careful of these complicated people faced with simple choices! For me, as just a person, I often blame my complexities on being an artist. When, as a writer, I get lost in perplexing thought, I try to remind myself I’m just a person.
Choices in Medium: Handwrite or Type
I make a choice everyday between the pen and paper or the keyboard and screen. It’s obvious most of the time, for practical reasons. I rarely take my laptop out and about with me because it’s not a Macbook Air or whatever (it’s so heavy). I rarely write by hand when I’m at my desk, when I’m working, or set to tasks of communique. But is there something missing when I choose one over the other? Are they truly interchangeable mediums- will they promote or support the same message? I’m not sure but if I was ever faced with the choice, once and for all, practicalities aside, here’s why I’m partial to handwriting:
- A writing class I once took, the teacher saying, some things you can only capture in ink on paper. That, fundamentally, writing by hand is an organic expression- from your heart out your hand. That’s a beautiful mindfuck. You can’t copy and paste. You have to cross out or cover. Sure, it’s more time consuming than typing. But it’s harder to delete.
- Long live cursive writing! I hear that it’s becoming irrelevant in early education. And even less relevant when you grow up and do away with ever using it. But isn’t it amazing to sit down and try after a long while? How slow going! How sloppy and clumsy you feel! How quickly forgettable it became- physically- to properly connect letters with loops and flourishes. Long live calligraphy too!
- Speaking of proper- it must not be forgotten that writing is a language. It has rules. T’s get crossed and sentences meet their ends with punctuations. When you knock away at the keyboard you barely have to remember the rules. The computer checks you as you go. Is something personal lost when we’re always so correct? I think bad spellers tend to be the charming types. But who can tell when we all appear so perfect on screen?
- Speaking of charming- long live paper products! I went to Hallmark a while back and I literally had to ask, where is all the stationary? The woman gestured to the rows and rows of say-it-for-you greeting cards of all occasions and gave me a quizzical look. There were two- two! – choices for me if I wanted blank paper and they came in a box of 20 and they were ugly.