I am writing from my new, very digital little machine, the asus eee pc. This little computer weighs in at less than 2 lbs, has a solid state 4 gig hard drive and a seven inch screen. This little gem is tiny. It fits nicely in my daily bag and is hardly that much bigger than my palm pilot was. It's the size of my journal, only just a bit thicker. This baby is going to let me write down my thoughts from anywhere I might happen to be. The bookstore, the hampstead heath, a beach in Goa, etc.
But is this a good thing? Obviously I think so – I bought one just three days after they were released in the US. But it's not going to replace my longhand journaling, nor will it mean that I'll never buy pens again. But for some people, it might. When was the last time you got a handwritten letter that arrived in a mailbox that you didn't need a computer to access? I get cards from my parents and in-laws, and that's about it.
I have decided to do more letter writing. I believe that I might go out and get some lovely stationary to start me off. And I'll choose one of my nicest pens. And I'll write a letter to a friend. One that requires postage. Perhaps I'll try to do this once a month. It hardly seems ambitious, but if I can manage it, then perhaps it will inspire the recipients to do so as well. And the cycle will continue.
And we'll all start using more pens. And receiving things that the sender actually touched, with their own hands. Something real, tangible, that can be held.
I'm a big fan of these eee computers, and I'm hardly a luddite. But I think that in several decades, when I'm gone, my children and grandchildren will be happy to have my journals; pieces of me that I actually touched, held in my lap, carried in my bag; and not just these digital bytes, though they might be easier and ever more convenient.
By writing more letters, I will be scattering those parts of myself around the world; literally leaving my mark rather than just a digital signature.
And that, along with this gorgeous little eee pc, makes me very happy.