Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Pen to Paper
As you read these words consider the ink from which they are printed. If you printed this from your desktop the ink is most likely made up of carbon black, a heavy varnish and an agent which reduced drying time. If these words were jotted down by an ink pen the words you read would be made up of petroleum napthas, resins and coal-tar solvents. Words scribed by scholars at the dawn of the Enlightened Age would most likely have been made up of a combination of juices, indigo, pokeberries, cochineal and/or sepia.
Then consider the paper upon which the ink is printed on. It began its existence as wood chips that were broken down by steam and chemicals into cellulose fibers that were dried out, heated and then pressed into the surface from which you are reading right now.
For centuries this process has been refined and perfected with ever evolving skill. So, now you see the pinnacle of paper and ink technology before you. The culmination of centuries of sweat, hard work and craftsmanship finds you the reader at this moment ready to be inspired.
Romantic isn't it? Inspired? Of course not.
What you see upon the whiteness of pressed wood pulp is the embodiment of somebody's soul. The author's soul. The cellulose fibers and petroleum napthas release the adventure, joy and sorrow within the readers mind, painting a picture with far more colors than the black and white that exist on this page, only limited by the capacity of the author who initially contemplated the words.
This very moment, as you read, is but a snapshot of thought, feeling and imagination imprinted from this mind to yours. It is an intimate connection between the author and reader providing insight into the inner workings of another mind. That is what makes reading romantic and inspiring, the connection between isolated souls, a yearning to see life from another less jaded perspective.
A good author can take you to places you have never seen before through beautiful description allowing escape from the daily bondage of life's modern problems. A great author can push into your dreams and enhance their essence.
An author is one whose soul can speak out over the generations unhindered by the bounds of time and space to inspire one whose great grandfather was yet to be born. The superlative ones have already taken us to Mars, Jupiter and places beyond before our technology had even allowed us to reach the moon.
What advances in science and technology would exist if it were not first dreamt of by an author? Would the human race have even been inspired enough to dare leave the gravity of Mother Earth's bosom? Would there be objects made by our own hands screaming through space well beyond the bounds of our own solar system?
These endeavors were made possible because writers such as Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clark gave such ventures validity by showing us romance, adventure and inspiration beyond our own world.
Writing is the language of the human soul. It just turns out some of us are more fluent than others. Now, as I put down the vessel of resins and coal-tar solvents that is my pen, I must go dream for I have been inspired by one that was able to move my soul before wood chips were steamed and chemically altered into paper or even before my distant relatives were born.
Sleep will come easy tonight.
Tomorrow, another story will be written.
Also appeared in the Lexington Anchor: http://www.lexingtonanchor.com/opinion/item/23-pen-to-paper