Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Eternal Paper

I was both entertained and educated by Michael Agger's article in Slate about writing for the web (writing for the web is part of my day job, so I'm continually learning more about such things).

I was simultaneously heartened by the author's observation of the permanence of paper. "We'll do more and more reading on screens," he writes, "but they won't replace paper - never mind what your friend with a Kindle tells you."

Intimacy and tactility - sensuousness - are the most notable aspects of reading from paper as opposed to reading on the screen. Agger describes paper as "a balm for the distracted mind." This is absolutely true for pleasure reading, where one treasures the feeling of diving into a book. I also prefer to proofread and copyedit publications of any length on paper instead of on screen, since paper allows for easier concentration and focus.

When I visited Goddard College for the first time and heard program director Paul Selig describe the MFA experience, he talked about how most of the professors still prefer to receive packets of physical paper in the mail (oh, the time we spent on those packets!) as opposed to being emailed manuscripts. "You might get your manuscript back with wrinkles and coffee stains," he said, and I felt the instinctive joy of a bibliophile whose passions have been recognized and acknowledged. Not only did we all love writing, but we all loved paper.


  1. Thanks for posting the link to this, and for your thoughts. Good stuff.

  2. I suppose nothing will ever replace paper....