Austen desk

A visit last year to Jane Austen’s home in Chawton confirmed what I’ve known for some time, but didn’t want to acknowledge: writing is not only a lost art, it’s almost become extinct.  When I actually pick up a pen and go to write, my hand grows tired within minutes and the result is chicken scratch. Austen’s small writing table and quill, where she penned her six wonderful novels, as well as numerous short stories, poems and letters, is in a completely different universe from today’s tablets, laptops and smartphones. It makes me wonder if Austen were alive today, could she accomplish even more with the ease and speed of 21st century technology, or would our version of “writing tables” only impede upon, or dumb down, her razor-sharp wit and creative word play?