Sunday, August 18, 2019

Writing History

When I was a kid (back when kids could play outside without adult supervision) sometimes we’d write notes to each other by scratching the backs of leaves with sticks, or by scratching sticks in the dirt. Those would soon disappear. 

I wonder if early humans gave messages to each other that way. They couldn’t read and write, but could have used symbols.

The first writing we know about was scratched onto rocks or clay tablets. Those lasted.

Then some people wrote on animal skins or papyrus on scrolls. 

When paper was invented books had to be written and sewn together by hand. It took a whole work day for scribes to write one chapter from the Bible and those had to be translated.

When Gutenberg invented the printing press he didn’t sell many copies of the Bible. (I once got to mend one of those when I worked in a library!) Rich people already had handwritten copies of the Bible and the lower classes couldn’t read. Gutenberg made most of his money by printing small things - like fliers. The advertising industry can thank him.

A few hundred years ago lots of people were literate and books were published by the hundreds or even thousands.

Today lots of us read on our phones or other electronic devices.

Maybe someday instead of cellphones we’ll have brain implants. Then some evil world government will take over and control us. (Can you tell I’m a writer?)

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