There is a great intimacy from putting pen to paper that I cannot experience from typing and tapping away on a keyboard. It's nice to complete a thought without the instant corrections of spell and grammar check popping up like a surly English teacher wielding a red pen. I wish I could explain this to my children, especially Chase. He has been extremely pen-phobic, afraid of making a mark he can't undo. More than undo--obliterate. I suppose we are all afraid of making mistakes these days. When your mistakes can be instantly broadcast and mocked to the four corners of the Earth, it is much easier to fall into the familiarity of what you know. It is a safe and well-worn path through life.
Perhaps the problem is in equating mistakes with failure. After reading through all of the various definitions in my low-tech Merriam-Webster dictionary, I can honestly say I did not find one mention of "failure" among the various meanings of "mistake", and vice-versa. In fact, the term "failure" seems complete and irrevocable in its definitions (a lack of success; deficiency; deterioration; decay) while "mistake" seems to offer some hope of change (misinterpret; misunderstanding; error).
Mistakes are a form of learning. We often forget that in our modern, fast-paced, success-at-any-cost world. As Ms. Frizzle of The Magic School Bus would say, it's time we "Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!" We cannot learn or do anything new without taking some risks!
For myself, I think I will take more time to turn away from the computer, put down the pencil, and do some writing in pen. It's amazing to see the thoughts that freely flow from ink.
Author's note: This post was transcribed from my journal, a simple spiral-bound notebook with book quotes along the top of the pages. It was originally written using a Pilot clicky pen with jet black gel ink, which doesn't smudge when I'm writing. This is important when you are left handed. Spell check has put a red line under the words "versa" and "clicky". I am letting myself be content with my choice of words and leaving them as is.