Opinion & Comment (pensieri e perplessità)

and all that was left was the paper

Yesterday, after a long first day back at work post-NYC, I was dutifully waiting outside for the office shuttle to trundle me back to Termini, and lolling in the sunshine while I was at it, as one does. The wind picked up for a moment, and as a solitary sheet of paper flew down the road, a poem began scratching itself out in my head, stretching. More of an excerpt, really, of something that wants to be written but which I haven’t been paying enough attention to. Just walked right in, fully formed, I suppose, as they do. Actually, that isn’t entirely true, because even while I was in New York last week, I had this niggling thought in the back of my mind, one of those things you wonder about when your brain isn’t busy focusing on trying to get on the right train back to Brooklyn or attempting to put on your bridesmaid dress without tangling your arms up for the millionth time. What is it about the development of this society that has led us to entrust everything about our lives to the Internet? The concept of “online” has revolutioned the way we think, the way we function, the way we store. But what if that doesn’t hold true forever? What about years from now, when society changes, what if we wipe ourselves out? What happens to all that information? What if one day, all that ends up mattering were the beautiful things we used to trust our thoughts to – paper, pen, typewriter?

So after asking the other half of YiR (hi Lauren!) what she might think of my posting something non-Rome related on the blog, I thought I’d share this little paragraph/poem (what ARE you?) with our YiR readers. Comments and feedback are entirely appreciated, up to and including “stop your rambling and get back to writing about your city, per favore.”

Thank you a priori for reading!

All that was left was the paper.

The world had turned, and everything had been lost.  The humans, who had been so sure of their center stage position, were left to scurry after the memories they had ill-fatedly stored on their hard drives, in the shadows, etched in invisible ink on the airwaves, thinking that their faith in it would force it to last, to hold. They felt like that about most things they ultimately worried they had no power over.

The world had turned, and everything had been lost. The air had reclaimed itself, rebelled against being used as storage space, given itself back to the worship of the winged birds. Clean and new, it had wiped out the heavy electricity, and now the only crackle left was that of thunder and lightning, the only waves the dark teal and froth of the oceans.

All that remained was what had been physically written, slowly and with care, real dedication on real paper, when the humans had valued more the things they could touch, molded and created with their hands and their minds. Spidery handwriting flowing across pages, and the click click click of old typewriters.  The pages flitted across the deserts, flew into the water. The memories there were preserved, because they had been loved.

And all that was left was the paper.

Photo by Sebastien Lefebvre, Your Shot for National Geographic

Photo by Sebastien Lefebvre, Your Shot for National Geographic

4 thoughts on “and all that was left was the paper

  1. Lovely piece & extremely well written! I can see how the stress of putting the bridesmaid dress on correctly could trigger the thought of the importance of words, feelings emotions being recorded on paper. It feels like that’s the only way anything REAL is remembered. As I view so many posts photos & blogs on the day of my wedding I still txt the photographer as I eagerly await the PRINTS of my photos! That, to me, is the true testament of the day! I miss the days of printed photos & diaries! Nonetheless, our society is one of the digital, but it is important to recognize the value of Paper & pen! When I want to look back at my relationship with my now husband, I reread all of the cards he has given me- birthdays holidays anniversaries & those my darlings are PRICELESS!!!

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