I typed a log entry into/on to my tablet. Then I deleted it and watch it seemingly become snaffled by the roiling plasma. Apposite word that 'tablet'. Harks back to the origins of writing, pieces of flint gouging out marks on stone beneath their sharpened tips. Matter grinding away at matter. Energy transference, heat sparks engendered through the friction. The intaglio letters cupped within the stone. Any natural cleft in the petrous grain, easily confused with a character whose shape it coincidentally approximates. Who can say where the boundary of a character ends and the natural stratum of the stone resumes? The letters utterly interacting with the flow of the grain around them, since one is hewn from the tissue of the other. Letters as impressions in negative space. That stone which was formerly there, now hacked away to leave the fossilised shapes of an alphabet.
And it's not just fleshy fingertips. For unlike the carved incisions in stone tablets, here the ink rests upon the host surface, albeit some of the ink will seep and spread into the fibres beneath. In the main the two substances coexist in a space that is not as blended as those characters cut into stone. The inked boundaries of the letters delineate them from a differently coloured paper textile. They sit flush on a plane that is itself flat. The ink does not really have any texture of its own. No raised surfaces. The two do not interact, in the sense that where the ink lies the paper beneath is effaced and where the ink is not, the paper bears sole possession untouched. Once the ink has dried and settled, the two are inert from each other. Of course with illuminated manuscripts, where gold leaf was being applied to the pages, then such calligraphy would have a texture. And while such manuscripts provided an interesting approach to representing the divine light in halos and the illuminated script itself, let's just say the legerdemain of gold leaf doesn't actually represent how light operates. Rather, it more approximates the reflective properties of the moon's light actually originating from the sun. Reflected glories as second-hand light. A paucity of illumination.
Of course in time, electronic typewriters and superior printing technologies ironed out these concavities and restored the smooth, unbroken plane of the canvas that houses the letters ranged there in regular blocks of text. The white of the paper merely acting as spacers between words, lines and paragraphs. Typescript orderly ranged across the paper, but more concerned with proportion to itself, so that the paper fades into the background. Print and paper barely having any relationship one to the other.
And thus do our letters evanesce and die. Oh they persist in some ghostly form, as hypertext, but they are quickly interred by the next rolling mass of text which too will be overwhelmed and underwritten, or should that be underwhelmed and overwritten? The letters, our letters, have become cast asunder from our fingers. Left to drift and do battle with CEO algorithms in the plasmatic main. The quality of writing has been strained through being shorn of material paper through which to filter it.