paper versus pixels

Writing has taken an interesting twist for me.  Way back in the dark ages (aka high school and college), I couldn’t create on a computer to save my life.  If I wasn’t physically moving pen across paper it was like my brain stalled out.  I’d stare at that blinking cursor, endless white space ready to scroll out to accomodate my every thought, and simply go blank.

So I’d scribble away on notebook paper, crossing out and moving on, capturing my ideas as they scurried through my head.  This was probably a decent system, if not for the increased risk of hand cramps: writing flowed, mistakes would leap out at me and I could make corrections without deleting giant sections of work, and then I’d edit again as I typed the final handwritten piece into the computer.

Then there was a very long block of time when the only writing I did was journaling, and I’m enough of a purist to believe that needs to be handwritten.  (No offense meant to any word processing journal fans out there.)  That was followed by what can only be called the drought – a period of time in which the only things written in my house were shopping lists and extraordinarily lengthy e-mails to Sista-friend. Seriously, I can’t even begin to estimate the number of words that girl’s read over the years…

And then there was Facebook.  And it was good.  (Sidestep lightning here.)

 

Suddenly I was writing.  They were only blurbs, granted, but I could feel the writer neurons that had been quiet for so long begin firing again.  Stories aching to be told were speaking to me, and I found myself picking up my phone or logging into Facebook more and more to release the words.

Then Gracie came along – sweet Jesus in heaven, GRACIE – and the stories multiplied.  And most of those stories could not be called blurbs by any stretch of the imagination.  What used to be status updates consisting of a few lines became saga-length descriptions of all the ways this dog was slowly trying to drive me insane.  And IT DIDN’T WORK, Gracie, I’M DOING JUST FINE!  (Insert maniacal laughter here.)

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Somewhere along the way there was a shift. Between the extensive e-mails that could probably be compiled into some kind of (admittedly eclectic) book and Facebook pulling me into the social media world, I’d begun writing exclusively on computers.  Journaling sort of fell by the wayside as these other mediums filled my creative needs.

Lo and behold, my writing had become wi-fi dependent.

This didn’t seem to be an issue.  I did most of my writing for the blog at home or in other wi-fi hot spots, and if I was on my phone I could always fall back on the data network.  But then summer happened.

Summer.  When the kids want to spend all their time at the pool.  The pool that doesn’t have wi-fi.

I realized the extent of this problem last week when we went for our first visit of the season.  A few hours of swimming for the kids, a few hours of writing time for me – it sounded like the perfect day.  I couldn’t get onto the blog to write (damn that no wi-fi area) so I worked in my word processing program, figuring I’d cut and paste later.

Except when it came to “later” I remembered that nothing’s ever as simple as it seems.  Because why on earth would cutting and pasting text from a Pages document into a new post on WordPress be anything other than complex and distressing?

Damn those formatting issues!!

And that’s why I’ll be kicking it old school this summer, writing in a cute little (gotta love Target) spiral bound notebook I’ve got stashed in the pool bag.  Who knows what kind of surprises might sneak out when I don’t have a screen staring back at me…

3 thoughts on “paper versus pixels

      • Maybe the motor component of handwriting affects our cognitive and creative output in some fashion. As a speech and language pathologist, I’d often work with an occupational therapist when treating a child with autism. We therapists noticed that the child’s speech production would increase when movement was involved.

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