Most of us never think about the technology we use when writing, whether we are jotting down our “To Do” lists or pulling out a pencil for an exam, we do it without much thought. Walter Ong tells us “Although we take writing so much for granted as to forget that it is a technology, writing is in a way the most drastic of the three technologies of the word (321). I believe that many of us would agree that although we may not consider writing to be a drastic technology, we would say that it is an important one.
For me there has never really been a reason to put much thought into the act of writing. I have put a lot of thought in to what to write or how to write it, but never the physical component of writing itself. It was not until my English professor gave an assignment to write twenty words without using any type of technology, that this actually came to mind. This seemed easy enough, at first, until he started mentioning items that we could not use. Many of the items on his list were items that I would never have considered to be technological, such as fruits or vegetables. He explained that if bought from a store or grown in my garden then those were a product of technology. I started thinking of items to write with and write on that could be found in nature, but it seemed no matter what I chose there was some technology tied to it. Even the words we were to write are a technology, “the first writing technology was writing itself” (Baron 39).
I chose a piece of wood as my writing surface, which, to my untrained eye, seemed to be without any technological advances. Obviously there were trees before writing was invented, and trees still continue to grow without any help from technology. I soon realized, however, that although the tree itself was not very technical, the way the tree had been cut down was. Since the piece of wood I used had not fallen from the tree itself, it is obvious that someone had to use a saw to cut it. I did not use any tools myself but rather left the large piece of firewood as it was. I hunted for wild berries in a wooded area near my home and found some small red ones on a wild bush. I would like to believe that this bush grew there naturally, but I somehow cannot fully believe that there was no technology involved in the placement of that bush. To produce the words that I needed to write I squeezed the red berry juice onto the log and wrote, “I love my three kids Meagan, Maddy and Emma and Eddie too my name is Amy Lynn Johnson.” It proved to be very difficult to write those eighteen words for many reasons. First, it was difficult to write small enough to fit so many words onto my log because the juice from the berries would run. I also found that the berries had to be extremely ripe in order to produce the dark red juice, for if they were not yet ready the juice inside ran clear. Next, I found that without a sharp point it was difficult to even shape or...