Pens and Pencils, tales from a distant age…

Ages. I do not use pens and pencils from ages. And it’s quite clear from what happens when I am stil forced to use them: I simply write something which cannot be understood!

That’s the fact. I’m worrying that I am simply loosing the ability to write by hand. Yes, I can try to write, but the result is discouraging: I usually produce something that nobody can read. Include myself, of course. Definitively, the modern age brings new abilities and skills, but sometimes it also looses something. Being not able to write by hand is not a good thing.

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We are loosing the ability of doing it by hand…

Nowadays, the occasions to adopt pens and pencils – for me – are really rare. Consider the simple action of taking notes. I use my iPad with Evernote (or something similar), and it works wonderfully. I can take notes and easily move them to my iMac, for further elaborations.

From some years, I maintain a digital diary with the (wonderful) Day One app. Recently, I’ve also started to experiment with Journal, to satisfy my (periodically awaking) Android side.

I cannot even remember the last time I wrote something substantive with a pen, apart from some unfortunate occasions where I had to take notes and I was without one of my tablets (iPad 2 or Nexus 7).

I agree that physical agendas can be truly beautiful. They have something attractive which definitively can’t be reproduced by any electronic device, no matter the software that you can load onboard. They speak about ancient ages, where you could touch the paper, evaluating its consistency, appreciate its color. Feel the subtle noise of turning page. This is something we are loosing, something that it’s going to disappear.

The most annoying thing of a written manuscript, it’s that it can’t easily be processed. This is the first reason, for me, for following the digital ruote.  That’s the most important reason why I do believe that it’s impossible to return to a pre-keyboard era.

And yes, I’m losing the ability to write with a pen.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pens and Pencils.”

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Why WordPress (dot com) ?

Disclaimer: this may sound as a declaration of love. Because it is. I’m getting in love with you, WordPress. I want to spend more time with you, I want to stay closer. You have what I need. Yes, it’s true.

Ok, enough for the emotional part. Now I cool down a bit…

Honestly, I’d hardly find a better way to improve my English, to overcome my fears of expression in a foreign language. To jump over my fears of making errors. Since I’m discovered the exciting WordPress (dot com) community, something is going to change. First, I’m starting to write my post directly in English. This is a rather new thing for me: before, my usual procedure was simply taking a post from my Italian blog, invoking Google Traslate, and than making the needed corrections by hand.

This is changing. I want to grow, I want to learn to express myself in English, without intermediate steps.

I want to widen the spectrum of things that I can talk about. Emotions, feelings, impressions.

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How WordPress can help me (and possibly, you) in that? As a matter of fact, wordpress community is a wonderful place to find interesting content in English for me to read. To learn the language, and namely, to learn the language that bloggers do use mostly.

I’m rather new to an intensive use of WordPress (dot com) facilities, since my main (Italian) blog is on Blogger (at least, at the moment writing), so in the following I list the things that most impressed me, during this path to gain familiarity with WordPress.

First, I do appreciate the Reader, with its list of updated posts from the blog that I follow. I also like the many ways WordPress team adopt for inviting you to write, as the Weekly Writing Challenge, just so say a name. Generally specking, a resource as The Daily Post is a  great point of reference if you’re looking for some intriguing idea for your blog.

The Fresly Pressed is another wonderful resource to see what it’s hot. More, there are lot of things to discover, like the 365 Writing Prompts, for example. Or Zero to zero, 30 days to make a better blog.

For what I understand, in Blogger you’re left alone, more or less. It’s a very good platform for various reason (apart from its embarrassing steady state, whereas WordPress keep updating at a good pace) , but it has not a real community that support it. Here is different, here you can feel yourself as a part of a vibrant community.

It’s for now, for this community, that I resolved to move my blog from a full installation under Altervista to a free blog inside WordPress.com, notwithstanding some technical  limitations. Yesterday I also decided to invest some euros in connecting this blog to my domain, so this is the first post under en.marcocastellani.me (admittedly, in Blogger I can do it for free, but…). I plan to spend at least some months here, to see if this is really what I like. Meanwhile, to understand a bit more about WordPress, I also bought the book The Year without pants from O’ Reilly (not too enthusiastic for the title, but ok)

All may happens, as usually. But, if I must judge from my first impressions, I think that I’ll stay.

If you’re here to improve your English, too, or if you would like to give your advice on how using WordPress for this task, I’d like to have your feelings in the comments section! Come in and drop a line! 

Why I love DayOne…

To me, journaling is essential to remembering when important events took place in my life. I don’t put a lot of faith in my own brain to keep an accurate record, so journaling helps add reliability to my memories (from  Ross Lockwood’s post)

I completey agree with this statement. This is why I started journaling more frequently, since 2011. My first post in DayOne is on March, 5, and it’s a simple statement to test the new diary (in Italian, my primary language). After some hesitations, I started to write more constantly, since the summer of that year.

Keeping a journal it’s not too different, in some way, to keep making photos concerning your daily life. It’s something that can help the mind to recall, to extract that file, to retrieve from the archive all the sensations and the emotions of those specific days. For this reason, it’s of invaluable help.

It’s not important that you write always in excellent style. You are not requested to create masterpiece. That’s the good part of a diary, after all. It’s completely your business. This time, you’re not called to satisfy any requirement, to fulfill any expectation. It’s your place, it’s a place entirely for you. In my diary, I have very short  as well as very long posts, depending on my mood and on my desire to write.

And they are both fine.

They do perfectly their work, which is, to fix a given moment, an impression, an intuition. Making possible to come back to it, anytime.

Trust me: you could be surprised, as much you can still learn from yourself, just by reading your old posts.

DayOne is a very comfortable place to write, since I can reach it anytime, anywhere. From my MacBook, from iPad, or from my iPhone 5. I have my whole archive always with me, thanks to iCloud synchronization.

In time, I’ve seen DayOne growing with features, some of these I largely appreciated. The two I liked most was, in time order, the introduction of tags, and the possibility to publish single entries.

The first feature is of invaluable help in organizing your entry, as you may guess.

The second feature is expecially intriguing, to me. I see it as a sort of bridge between in and out, between my inner private world and the external environment (the rest of the world). Sometimes – after having written a post – I realize that I’d like to share it with others. In the past I elaborated a blog post on it (sometimes I still love to act in this way, since a personal diary is a great tool for raw material to process and publish at a later time), now I have also another possibility: I can simply hit “publish” and DayOne do create for me a nicely and clean webpage with my post content. I cannot ask more – except, maybe, a link to a list of all my published post.

There are a lot of other interesting feature in DayOne. But the best think, for me, is that it makes writing easy and attractive.

This time, I really cannot ask more.

My new book

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In case you didn’t know, here is my new book of poetry (in Italian). The name of the book comes from a song of Victor Heredìa, “Ojos de Cielo”. I was inspired by this passage 

Eyes of heaven, eyes of heaven, don’t abandon me in full flight

(In pieno volo it’s the italian way to say in full flight)

I can interpret the song in many different ways. What is the full flight? It’s the adventure of life, basically. Is the unique adventure of my ilfe. It’s also my spiritual voyage, needed to understand that life has a deep meaning – and it’s worth living each day. Not least, it’s the marvellous adventure of writing, it’s a recognition that writing is an important part in my life. A part that I’m called to defend and develope, since it’s needed for my full flight.

This small book is an important milestone for me. It’s a message I sent to myself, always believe to your dream. 

I’m pretty sure you can do the same to you, for your dream. I’m still certain that if we allow ourselfes to take care of our dreams, the world can turn in a much better place. Let’s do it! 

Make more art

There is only one possible answer. This diagram has the advantage of a great simplicity. You can’t escape. When I saw this on Jeff Goins Facebook page, I was immediately struck by the evidence of the answer. Yes. The only answer is make more art, no matter how you can evaluate your craft.

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There is only one possible answer…

The other thing that prompt me to reflect is the simple fact evidence that if you make art, you’re an artist. No matter what. So it’s extremely liberating: you are immediately free from the prepotence of your inner censor, the one that always keeps saying “no, you’re not good enough, it’s better that you quit now”.

Our work as artists is not to win the internal censor, that’s probably impossible. It’s different, it’s to keep on notwithstanding the internal  censor. To keep on embracing your fear.

So, let’s make more art. World is waiting for us to express our unique voice.

Thanks Jeff, I definitely needed it 🙂

Do bloggers have choices?

Just found this interesting article that has been Fresh Pressed. These are the questions that – more or less – each blogger can find behind him. The answer may indeed be found in flexibility and in our true desire to embrace multiplicity. Good post indeed.

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Over the last year and a half, my blogging dilemmas have been many. I have, I’m afraid, been able to reduce these dilemmas into neat little binaries quite without satisfactory answers.

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