Many years ago, I think my blog was on Medium, I wrote a post with the same title. It has been lost to digital rot, but my thoughts are the same as they were. The importance of feeling and touching things in a world filled full of apps and devices can’t be forgotten. There is nothing that comes close. Holding books in your hand, turning the pages of a magazine, the process of picking up and examining a purchase before deciding is just impossible to beat.
The argument against this of course is a kind of sudo minimalism. Not having to put up with ‘things’ is often a much better solution. Who wants loads of book lying around that you are not going to read again? What on earth do you do with used up notebooks or journals? If a digital service can replace these things, and remove the hassle of them hanging around once spent, then it could be a much better solution for some. In today's modern world there is an app for everything, but I can’t feel anything about a bit of code.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my Kindle. Well, I love an E-Reader, I hate that the best solution is a Kindle. It allows me to read several books at once and carry around something so small and light I barely know it’s there. Yet, I never feel the bookiness that my heart desires. With a physical copy of someone's words, I feel like I own it, rather than renting it from Amazon until my devices breaks. Using digital services in many situations make sense, but an E-Book never feels like I am reading a book. It feels like I am staring at another screen.
For the risk of sounding a bit out there, and picking things that the modern world seems to have lost its love for, the same must be said for writing. Journaling, or note-taking, is one of my favourite things to do. I just love scribbling things down, even in my terrible scrawl it feels fantastic. I can make the case for digital journals to a certain extent because they offer something more secure and easy to keep, but holding a pen and feeling it scratch on paper makes my heart sing.
All the algorithms and cleverness in the world from things like Obsidian can't replace me writing things down and forgetting about them later. Reading an incredible page turner of a novel doesn't feel the same swiping on a screen. I don’t buy books, of course, only a few reman from purchasing them in days gone by. Journals and notebooks no longer litter my house, replaced by apps and services because they just make more sense in the modern world — but that doesn’t mean I can’t yearn for something more tactile.
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