I have found myself engaged in all sorts of analog activities during these weeks of relative isolation. I got an origami kit, bought a half dozen fountain pens, made a few tentative forays into drawing. I have also been writing letters, considerably more than my usual few per year. One of the people with whom I used to exchange them quite regularly, my father’s mother, passed away early this year, so perhaps I have been making up for that by reaching out to other people more often, even those with whom I frequently text or talk.
Some of it, I know, is a self-conscious chronicling of These Unusual Times, like I’m auditioning for a future role in a Ken Burns documentary. I’ve noticed another attitude has crept in lately, on top of that one, a sort of hyper-awareness of the fact that letters written on paper and sent through the mail are immune to the Big Data vacuums that hover just offscreen in our every digital action. No one is going to send me or my correspondent ads based on the written contents, or the design on the card, or the inexpertly crafted origami boat I enclosed. (They may now, based on this post.) There is no record of its existence outside of itself.
Speaking of the analog arts, a knitting update. This is seven or eight inches. I’m quite pleased with how it’s coming along.