The drawings in Leang Timpuseng prove that people have always wanted to write, to tell their story, to leave a mark. These ancestors used handmade paint and a smooth wall for jotting it down: ideas, visions, observations, fiction or nonfiction. This includes stories of crime and punishment..
New Archaeology notes, “Archaeology suggests that the first writing emerged around 6,000 years ago.” Writing with pictures evolved to letters. Illustration to word, though it continued to be the same communication.
The first book “written” on the typewriter was Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi (Twain did not type it himself; he said the typewriter caused him to swear too much; the famous memoir was dictated to a typist, who, presumably, did not cuss).
An article in The New York Times notes “the graffiti movement that took root in New York in the 1970s and ‘80s more powerfully than anywhere else, spawn(ed) a new American art form.” When a pen and paper are not available, we write on walls to voice our thoughts and actions. From the Latin King’s tribute to gang members lost to artists who see the city as one big blank canvas, from the “fuck all ya’ll” to the “impeach Trump,” to the bathroom wall scratching of names and hometowns, humanity has a need to write and draw, to create for the world to see and share.
Authors and storytellers know writing is in our DNA, our history. Everyone has a book in his or her head. Some try to publish; some just “have to get it all out” of their mind.
I came from a generation where we handwrote all of our school composition papers. We were introduced to word processors and then personal computers (screeee …”you’ve got mail”) and now we bang or yap into a machine. When preparing a book, I handwrite all of my notes because there is something I like about the feeling of a pen in hand, of a part of me flowing onto my notepad to tell someone’s story (And, 90% of the time, I can read what I jotted out). Each of my books has several binders stuffed with all of the information that stands behind the actual product: research, court documents, legal papers, et. al. Much of this is handwritten: interview notes, notes to self, to-do lists, contact information, directions, instructions. For the actual product, I use my Mac (a fellow investigator said I was the fastest two-fingered typist he had known). From the notes to the keyboard to the screen, my letters and figures meld into a story.
Writing is just a part of our culture, like crime and love. We integrate it into our expressions: The writing's on the wall, written in stone. Humans share information: Did you read Facebook? The newspaper said… And now, with social media, we return to writing on a wall by posting, tweeting, and emailing. The wall is now electronic; our words are digital letters, pictures, and symbols. People leave legacies for the future, they rant, and they send condolences, and celebrate ... and onto the same screen I write my tales, my books, just like 35,400 years ago when my ancestors wrote in Leang Timpuseng.