2 thoughts on “Joshua Alan Sturgill

  1. Comments on Reflection XII: Handmade Beauty:

    The connection between how we express ourselves non-verbally, and non-physically, using the grammar and language as we put forth as words on paper (handwritten or typed, but not typed into an electronic document), usually distinguishes the amount of effort that we are willing to put into any matter.

    In this short reply, I am using a dictation program (Dragon) that allows me to “write” without typing or using a writing instrument such as a pen or pencil. What I say can be edited (and usually is edited, at least lightly), but I can never achieve the focus that comes from the slower writing process of using a pen on paper. I can type quickly and I can speak quickly, and– just ask my wife– my words usually somehow get me into trouble. The pen forces us to think-ahead, and that can only help us, right?

    I believe that setting our thoughts down for others to read is a sort of Beauty in itself. I would not have used that word, but I like how Joshua used it and has coined it for himself. Whether putting my thoughts down through writing using script or typing a few words into an online blog, many of us are trying to get our world-view across to others. I’ve never been able to write well in cursive. I can hardly remember how to write a capital Q or Z in script. For this reason, when I write, I use the method I first learned: printing.

    I went to elementary school in the early 1980s. Even back then, in a rural town on the East Coast, handwriting was being deemphasized in general. The typewriters had arrives many decades before the 80s, and my first use of a computer at school happened in about 1984. We were introduced to computers as newfangled typewriters.

    The loss of handwriting is a valid point here, but even worse, is the loss of Beauty that Joshua sees coming from our handwriting. I believe our thoughts ought to be the Beauty, not how we choose to express them. How we choose to express this Beauty is a personal choice for most of us. For Joshua, it seems, handwriting is important (and it is important for me too), but for others who have limited experience with this method of communication, the tool of choice is probably a computer keyboard or a phone’s touch screen– at least in the Western world where technology is readily available.

    However a person chooses to express their Beauty– if there is beauty inside of them– seems valid. In the same way that a person can use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator to manipulate digital “matter,” others will use acrylic or oil paints on canvas to actually paint. For my writing methods, I choose to dictate, handwrite, and type. All of these methods allow me to express what I hope is Beauty.

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    1. I really enjoyed this thoughtful post. I think you’re right about expressing the beauty any way we are able. I wonder if what grieves me most about the loss of handwriting is a loss of tradition and connection with past generations of pre-keyboard writers. I’ve heard that C.S. Lewis and Rene Guenon, as examples, handwrote whole manuscripts that required very little editing. How did they sustain a single narrative for such a long time!? I’m feeling good if I can get through a whole typed paragraph without the urge to check my phone! Slow, sustained thought, handwriting, expression of story and philosophy – the “beauty inside” – the connections seem deep, but fragile.

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