Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Quote of the day...


“Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.” - Nietzsche.


In 1882 Nietzsche purchased a typewriter, a Malling-Hansen Writing Ball, and a friend noticed a change in his writing style with the arrival of his new machine. His friend found his work tighter than even and suggested,

“Perhaps you will through this instrument even take to a new idiom,” the friend wrote in a letter, noting that, in his own work, his “‘thoughts’ in music and language often depend on the quality of pen and paper.
“You are right,” Nietzsche replied, “our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.”

According to the Malling-Hansen Society, Nietzsche never had much luck with his latest model, portable and with a colour ribbon Malling-Hansen Writing Ball due to a number or reasons (poor eyesight, damaged in travel, lack of skill etc.), but he did write a poem for it:

“THE WRITING BALL IS A THING LIKE ME: MADE OF IRON

YET EASILY TWISTED ON JOURNEYS.

PATIENCE AND TACT ARE REQUIRED IN ABUNDANCE

AS WELL AS FINE FINGERS TO USE US."

(Friedrich Nietzsche, on February 16th 1882)


Nietzsche information from here, Malling-Hansen Society here.


I am struggling to take notes on my computer and to read texts online, so I find the Nietzsche quote fascinating, as well as the story that goes with it. I love having journal articles in front of me with a pen and a highlighter and a notebook to fill with notes, ideas, questions etc.

I wonder how right Nietzsche was, how much does our technology/writing materials influence what and how we write? How long will it take me to retrain myself to be able to do these things on a laptop instead of in a Moleskine?

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