Thursday, May 15, 2003

Typewriter vs. Computer

Iím quite the anomaly as writers go; most seem to write lengthy long hand drafts before handing them off to an assistant to be typed. At least the famous ones do. The not so famous ones then type them up themselves on a typewriter of course, the older the better. Just watch any movie with a writer in it and his soundtrack is usually the clack, clack, zip of a typewriter.

I write on a computer. Shocking, I know. Hemmingway would bitch slap me if he knew. Whatever. Iím way to schizoid to even touch a typewriter.

The taboo against word processors is slowly dying out but youíd think by the twenty first century, writers the world over would have embraced the computer. (I can hear some of the Old school mentors of mine grumbling how in their day it was all pencils and typewriters). But seriously, itís so much faster and easier to spell check and cut and paste then to laboriously retype every time I want to move a word or cut a fragment. Writers should embrace the tools of change and make them work for them. Other artists in film and graphics are allowed but somehow, we writers are supposed to remain mired in the nineteenth century? I donít buy that. I think itís just fear of change, fear of the machines doing the writing while we sit back and stare in horror at that which we have wrought. Or something to that effect.

Though I have recently been trying to write rough drafts longhand, just for the exercise. But itís still a bit of a chore. My mind, mediated by Television and film tends to zip ahead or back along non-linear paths. Itís a rare day when I write a sentence all the way through without having to go back and adjust a word, add a clause or fix my dog awful spelling. But I have noticed that having a few handwritten bits of dialogue or at least some notes takes the edge off, gives me a spring board to work from. No more sitting there at the computer, starring into the infinite hall of ones and zeros like at the beginning of the Matrix.

But Iíd be screwed if some terrorist detonated an EMP device and fragged all the worldís hard drives. Iíd probably turn to selling lemons from a roadside stand.


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