I take great pleasure in writing and I do so by choice whenever I can. We all have to use computers and phones these days and many words, sentences and paragraphs are hammered out on the keyboard as this article is, but it wasn’t created here. It was drafted in a hardcover spiral-back notebook using a Jinhao fountain pen with Baystate Blue ink. The blank, faintly blue sheets of my notebook invite creativity in a way a computer program never does for me. For some people it might be about pace, giving time to think as the pen glides over the paper. It isn’t that for me. I write very fast but perhaps it works so well because it is the medium I have used since childhood.

Keyboard use only became universal with the spread of the PC. Before that it was a rather specialist skill though there were many “hunt and peck” amateurs. Now the laser-printed page is ubiquitous and dominant. Admittedly it has the benefit of clarity whereas not everyone’s handwriting is always easy to read. Even in a personal letter, though, printing is coldly official-looking to one of my generation. The hand-written letters that arrive in the post warm the heart in their own special way. There’s only one aspect of the word-processor that is superior to handwriting: perhaps one day someone will invent a fountain pen with a spell-checker!


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