As we move further and further into a world in which printed, bound, and preserved language seems obsolete, the temptation is to declare printed words well beyond the point of no return. Daily we assert that we have lost literacy, that we degrade the power and beauty of literature. We literally throw away our words as libraries weed their shelves. Every day we throw away our words, tossing them out with yesterday’s quaintly printed newspapers and the books in our parents’ attics. But we do not lose them. Words are more essential and sublime than the printed impressions we use, reuse, or destroy.
We live at a transformative moment, at the cusp of a world characterized by the changing, mutating, evolving, and perpetually edited freedom of digital media. Text is literally migrating from one form to another, taking new shapes and meanings every day. We must learn again, in an unceasing sea of words, how to navigate the waters of our language.