The beauty of pen and paper


I’ve been writing a lot… just not here. At the tail end of 2014, I was at Pier One when I found a journal with cover that featured a compelling picture of a giraffe. The giraffe wears glasses. I justified buying yet another empty notebook by half-heartedly promising myself that I would write in it every day of 2015. And I have.

And the intensive class time of J-term wraps up tomorrow. Encouraged by the syllabus and skeptical of an article I read claiming we remember more when we write by hand, I opted to take all class notes by hand in a notebook. At times it was hard to keep up– I type a lot faster than I can write with a pen. It took a day or so before I got in the groove of handwriting all notes. I found some new abbreviations: C with a circle around it is Calvin, Z is Zwingli, LS is the Lords Supper, HS for Holy Spirit, JC for Jesus, H’bg for Heidelberg, etc.

And I’ve been haunted by a story that I’m trying to get out. It’s funny how writing in the journal prompts that. With a computer, I’m constantly editing as I go. With a pen, I don’t like to cross things out. That leads to creatively rearranging sentences and propels me forward instead of obsessing over the previous sentence or paragraph.

Maybe if I return to a fluidity of writing for myself on paper with fun pens, I will be drawn back here to share publicly some of the discoveries I’m making privately.

There’s some comfort in knowing what I write in a journal, or what I jot down mid-thought in class won’t end up on the internet haunting me by being out there forever. My silly little poem assessing my day is just for me and certainly won’t go viral when it’s confined to the pages of the giraffe journal.

I’ll close this with a favorite sentence from this J-term class, courtesy of our seminary dean, Dr. Longfield: “I’m not opposed to technology. I use pens.”

About SaraBSutter

I serve as the pastor of United Presbyterian Church in Goldfield, Iowa. My husband Steve and I are excited to be in a friendly small town and look forward to the years ahead. In addition to nerdy church stuff, I love reading books, writing, good coffee, cats, and football.

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