» The Power of Paper

“Paper still matters,” stated Phyllis Korkki writing for the NY Times.  She quoted several experts, including David Allen, the author of “Getting Things Done ,” that some people have returned to paper planners because the physical presence of paper, vs.hidden computer files, is a goad to completing tasks.

She also quotes Steve Leveen, CEO of Levenger, who described the power of paper in the most elegant and eloquent terms.  

While he feels digital technology is better for socializing and sharing, paper is best for “quiet contemplation.”  The writer describes–very accurately–Levenger as in the business of promoting paper as an aesthetic experience, offering high-end notebooks and journals, even has it expands to sell iPad cases and stands.  After all “readers” now use iPad to access books and publications.

“Paper,” Mr. Leveen said, “can be a luscious and beautiful thing–the way we savor fine food and wine, we can savor paper and ink and what it does for us.”

Paper reminds us that “we’re physical beings, despite having  to contend with an increasing virtual world,” he said. While people complain that writing by hand is slow, it is the slowness that can be good for thinking and creating. He said: “It slows us down to think and to contemplate and to revise and recast.”

He is so right.  While I may type a final document on a computer, I do my “thinking” writing longhand on a notepad.

Is paper’s advantage in its ability to engage all our senses? In its “slowness”?  What do you think?



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Posted on October 3rd, 2012 by Karen
Filed in: Editorial
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Oh! Paper for me is all about the senses and the way my brain works. I might understand that a computer can hold X gigabytes of data and that’s great– but to my hand and my mind, my senses and my muse, somehow paper seems much roomier. Roomier, organic, inviting, more closely connected to the original. Perhaps it isn’t…but it feels that way to me. When I read aloud in some settings, I have been known to touch the page first…run my hand across the inked words…as another sort of way to draw the words or work into me. The movement of the act of writing is not only from within-out. I think there is an aspect that is from out-within. And paper helps me experience that piece of it more intimately.

When PDA’s were all the rage, I bought one (a Palm V). At first it was cool, but then I purchased a leather binder to carry it around that also included a pad of paper. Over time I found I was using the paper more than the the PDA. Eventually I gave up on the PDA altogether and switched back to paper for a few reasons. 1) Entering information in the PDA was quite laborious with all the tap, tap, tap on the tiny keyboard. The graffiti function didn’t work very well for me. 2) Out of sight, out of mind. Too much information would get lost because I couldn’t see it anymore. 3) I discovered the joy of writing with a fountain pen on high quality paper. There’s no turning back to electronics now. I’m a pen & paper man all the way.


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