I’m not thrilled about creating garbage. But I do get misty-eyed about trash of a certain kind.

Art garbage. Or call it process trash.

I see an empty ink bottle, a stained palette, a filled notebook or an empty tube of paint, I know something good happened.

Even if the finished product sucked, somebody enjoyed the subtle, velvety feel of a loaded brush easing paint onto paper. Or a fountain pen laying a smooth line of ink a notebook.

I won’t lie — both feel pretty good. They’re sensual. And they’re filled with promise.

art garbage

It’s not trash. It’s my happy place.

This is why digital writers and artists should feel cheated. In our work, we don’t get to load a brush with pigment and smoothly release it on heavy, handmade paper.

We don’t experience the satisfaction of sticking a clean sheet of paper in a typewriter and — after some noise and effort — pulling out an altered piece of paper filled with ideas.

Hell, we don’t even get a quiet break from writing when we stop to refill our fountain pens, as dog intended.

In simple terms, we don’t experience anything as inefficient as joy.

My digital writing process is infinite and ruthlessly efficient; as long as I keep funneling electrons to my PCs, they’ll never run out of vowels and consonants.

I can send the finished product anywhere in a split second.

But that final product is a formless, artless, instantly reproducible-without-any-effort-on-my-part digital file that disappears should the power blink out.

In simple terms, I benefit from the efficiencies of digital workflow, but I get no joy out of the process.

Maybe this is why vinyl and typewriters are resurgent. And why fountain pens simply won’t die.

We are creators, but in the name of efficiency we’ve been robbed of the joy of creation.

The efficiency expert in all of us is happy, but our souls want more.

Keep creating, Tom Chandler.