Prompt: We were tasked with creating a piece based on a printed artifact.
I once asked my grandmother if it was weird to her how much the world had changed since her youth. She pondered the question only briefly before replying no. She argued that the world just is what it is, no use overthinking its constant evolution and frequent shifts. I have the lurking feeling that this is a generational answer. From what I have come to understand, the beautiful secretaries of 1960s John Deere were not exactly taught to question the world as we are urged to today. Her answer also scared me. Will my generation stand idly by as technologies radically alter our world, not registering the damage they are doing to us? These questions and thoughts came to a head when my mom brought me my grandmother’s shorthand dictionary, a relic left behind on my grandfather’s Iowa farm. This mass of paper and ink, designed for her to use yet more paper and ink, stands in such stark contrast to the sterile computer screen upon which I now type. I will admit it: I am frightened for the future. Each day feels more like a dystopian novel and less like real life, leaving me with an aching abundance of mundane desires. I want to have paper cuts. I want to get ink on my fingers. I want to tease my hair like my grandmother did and clack my heels on the floor, a stack of documents in hand. I want the same for my children, and for their children after that. But this may not be realistic. Even if my antiquated dreams will never be realized, I can store my hopes within the pages of that little shorthand dictionary, dreaming of a day when humanity reverts back to the tactile, holds close the empathetic and the palpable.