For the past few weeks, I’ve been coming home from work, ducking into my office, cracking my old Norton Anthology of English Literature and slowly writing out a few dozen lines of Paradise Lost.
Channeling forces me to slow down and fully digest a work of art. Moving at the speed of handwriting, I’m more able to appreciate the rhythm that glides from word to word. I can savor an iamb; marvel at the four-word sentence with the same rhythmic structure as a 10-word sentence. I don’t catch these things when I’m reading; I can’t control the urge to get to the bottom of the page.
The pen-to-paper connection forged by longhand is satisfying and physical. We’re analog creatures. I believe it’s awakening connections in my brain. Even if I can’t write like Milton, I can train my mind and body to understand how it feels to have great language flow through me.