While flying to Hilton Head Island for our anniversary, I scoped out the occupants of the seats nearby. You do this too, don’t you? I wonder where they’re going, where they’ve been, and why they’re traveling. Is it business, pleasure, an emergency? Who are these people? I wish everyone wore a sign with a short bio.
A young thirty-something man sat across the aisle from me wearing flip-flops, jeans, and a short-sleeved polo shirt untucked. His wavy black hair touched the bottom of his ear lobes and nape of neck, and his face declared that he preferred the scruffy unshaven look. In his hands he held a worn Zane Grey western. Interesting, I thought. He didn’t seem the type to read a novel of the American Frontier. Is this his favorite book he’s owned for several years only to pick it up again for this trip? Or did he select it at a used book store, or borrow from a friend? I probably read too much into it, but I like observing and besides, it passes the time on a plane (the quicker the trip, the better).
Just so you know, I wasn’t staring at this thirty-something man. After all, my husband of 30 years was sitting right next to me reading his own book, Killing Lincoln. And I was reading my book, Wrecked. Really. But out of the corner of my eye I saw thirty-something pull out a black moleskin journal. The kind you see on display near the check out at Barnes & Noble. He laid down the tray table and then began writing with a beautiful black fountain pen. Seriously. What thirty-something guy in today’s techy world consumed by apps writes with a fountain pen? Who is this guy, preserving a lost art? He must be a writer. He must have “an old soul.”
I wish I was more outgoing with strangers on planes and then I would have talked to him – perhaps received answers to my questions. But I’m not outgoing with strangers, and besides, he looked deep in thought and those thoughts were flowing through the ink onto paper. I respected that and kept quiet. Yet I couldn’t help but notice the juxtaposition of the jet screaming across the sky representing our modern lives and his fountain pen scratching across lined paper representing an older past life. A life that only knew a slower, simpler pace.
In our fast-paced, plugged in world, anytime we take the time to write slowly with pen has got to be good for the soul. Try it. Go buy yourself a nice pen or even better, search out a fountain pen. And write. Write in a journal. Write a note. Write a thank you. Write a check, even! Slow down and unplug from email, Facebook, Twitter, Google. Instead of simply clicking Send or Like, slow down and write someone – with pen. Don’t let this become a lost art.
My heart overflows with a good theme…my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. – Psalm 45:1