Saturday, May 17, 2014

Written On The Wind

I'm old school. Ask any of the kids I teach. Ask my son. Ask a stranger on the street. On second thought, just ask me. I will tell you: I like things simple. That's probably at the heart of why I eschew semicolons, but that's a matter for deeper discussion at another time. I am a writer. This blog that you are currently reading is testament to that fact. I am also a late adopter to much of the technology that I have curiously ended up being surrounded.
How I yearn for that Bic stick. So much of my earliest work was scrawled in ballpoint pen in cramped little lines on a legal pad. It wasn't until my freshman year in college that I started using an electric typewriter. Before that, I was tapping out my best efforts on a very dated Royal manual that tended to bounce around my desk as I worked to transpose my chicken scratches into the magnificent prose that would eventually be copied by a machine at my father's office. The notion that there were machines that were capable of performing both of those operations without the wear and tear on my furniture was still years in the future.
And even when that future came, I resisted. I used to complain bitterly about how soulless the words were that came from a dot matrix printer. It wasn't until I found the video store I managed closing around me that I admitted that I had a problem. Adapt or die. I submitted myself to some basic computer skill training that included the use of a funky little program called "Wordstar." It sounded like the future. It looked like the future. Its glowing characters and tricky keyboard commands. It was like piloting my own (word)starship. Slowly I moved from composing with pen and paper to the keyboard. Eventually I lost that little callus that had built up under my right thumb from bearing down so ferociously on that Bic. These days it feels a bit foreign to have to write much more than my signature with a pen.
I was gratified to see that George R.R. Martin still uses his Wordstar. That's where "Game of Thrones" originates. Of course, if he were really true to his art he'd be using dragon's blood and a quill for his next draft.

1 comment:

Krs10 said...

Wow, thanks for the pic of Wordstar - that's where I learned my first HTML! I fondly remember the office Kaypro - I called it the "paper wasting department" since we had to re-print so many errors and page glitches. Great interview with Conan, too. Here's a fun link -