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Pen: Moving Meditation

by Tona Bell July 05, 2016 3 min read

We were asked to write an article in Tampa Bay Wellness Magazine for their 2016 May issue on why someone would want to write and why it is important.  I'd like to share this with you now:

Why Writing Is Good For You

There is a reason why people from all walks of life, ranging in age from teenagers to those who could easily be their grandparents gather at our bright and comfy bungalow in Tampa’s Soho district to write letters together.  My intention for The Paper Seahorse has always been to be a haven for writers, crafters and paper lovers. That is why I think of the shop truly as a “paperie and makerie”. And, I think, science supports me.

In a study published in the journal, Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, researchers found that expressive writing had long-term health benefits including improved immune system, improved mood, improved lung function, improved liver function, and a feeling of greater well-being. 

At one of our regular “Snail Mail Meet-Ups” letter writers were filling a void in their lives that the billions of collective texts, tweets and posts we generate each year never could.  We must be satisfying some real human needs by engaging with the endless information pouring out of countless and omnipresent screens, but most of us end up feeling exhausted and unsatisfied.  While many believe multitasking is necessary to succeed in today’s world, others disagree.  “With regard to Multitasking…cognitive, behavioral, and neurological sciences are moving toward a consensus that such a state does not actually exist in the human brain,” observed emerging technology designer Annette Liska in a Pew Research Center report on Hyper Connectivity.  “We may make many quick ‘thoughts’ in succession, but human performance in any activity that is done without focus (often termed ‘multitasking’) is of significantly lower quality, including an absence of quality and consciousness.” 

I believe that one of the reasons that younger people are buying typewriters from our shop is because they are "single task" machines. You cannot check email and you will not get calendar alerts or text messages.  When you write on a typewriter it is simply you and a beautiful machine designed specifically to help you take the conceptual thoughts and feelings in your mind and put them on a printed page in which they can be shared.

The purpose here at The Paper Seahorse is to create an environment for people to reconnect with each other and to reconnect with themselves through keeping in touch. When people come into our shop or participate in one of our classes or workshops, the experience should be happy and relaxing.  It is truly a mindfulness practice. We want people to walk out centered, rejuvenated and happy.

Again, studies support the benefits of hand writing notes and letters.  In the article Love Promotes Health, published in the journal Neuroendocrinology Letters, researchers found that writing love notes may, “activate areas in the brain responsible for emotion, attention, motivation and memory…. and capable of stimulating health, wellbeing and productivity.”

While letter writing is “Old School,” there is nothing old fashioned about The Paper Seahorse.  Come and explore the array of hand-made papers, letterpress cards, pencils, pens, vintage typewriters and Japanese journals while listening to music from Indie artists like Borns playing on a restored vintage receiver from the 70’s. 

Our cards can be sweet or snarky like what is really on your mind. Everything we carry is either hand-made or is an artisanal product made in small batches.  When something is made by hand, when it is made with love and joy, that feeling is transmitted to the user.  We hope that the products that we carry and the environment that we create help people find peace and joy through mindfully creating and connecting with others.

The Paper Seahorse – A Paperie + Makerie is located at 211 South Howard Ave in Tampa’s SoHo entertainment district.  The shop is open M-F 10a to 5p and Saturday from 11a to 4p.  Classes and workshops are held seven days a week and require pre-registration.  A full schedule of class can be found on their web site:  www.paperseahorse.com/classes.

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