Hemingway did it on a typewriter. So did Welty, Vonnegut, and nearly all of my other longheld writing heros. They didn't have laptop computers with word processing programs that could do an unceasing combination of things. So I have always felt that by using a computer and accompanying software that I am cheating. I have to wonder that if left without this crutch, would I be any where near the writer that I am? Would I even be able to hold a candle to the many other hard working abd talented writers at work today, which is not to say that I do anyway, I suppose.
The point being, by using and relying on technology to help aid my writing--spelling, grammar, thesaurus, dictionary, delte, copy and paste and so much more--am I making it too easy, copping out on the hard work. I have often said of many other endeavors that if you can't perform with even the basest of equipment, you really were never that good anyway. For example, I use skis and bindings that were in vogue more than 20 years ago. There is not a parabolic anything to this gear--simply bindings, poles, skis and boots--and I am one of the better skiers that I know because since I was six I have loved the sport and spent many years (too many perhaps) working simply so that I could be near skiing terraine as a night snowmaker. I would start my night at 7pm and work on the mountain running the equipment and machinery in the very dead of night and heart of cold until 7am and then rather than go to sleep, I and friends would ski until we couldn't stand anymore.
I never was a gear head and never really paid too much attention to what I was skiing on. Instead, I just wanted to be out on the mountain pointing the tips of my skis down hill and letting them glide. I could ski very well with whatever I could ski on.
So I have always had this guilt about writing because I love writing on a computer because it allows me so much more freedom. I can type at the speed of thought and allow the words to fall where they may. And then I can come along and work through the red lines and fix whatever mistakes I have made quite easily. I can remove whole sections and place them on a seperate page for safe keeping. I can take whole sections and move them around until I like where they end up. I can do many good things with a computer, which means it makes writing so much easier. But again, is it too easy?
And with the Internet I hace access to information and other writers and editors and publishers and on and on that any of my writing heros of the past could never have dreamed of. They worked with clacking typewriters and the need to go to the library to find information they were looking for and to call other writers when they need to speak with a peer. And yet, despite all of these constraints, they write often and continued to write until death came and took them away.
So anyway, I this is a long standing feeling of techno guilt that I have been carrying around. It has been years and in some ways it has limited me and reduced my self worth as a writer, though not eliminating it. Until recently.
The other day I was thinking about all of this when I came to some sense of resolution. I really have to consider that all of these past writers worked with the technology of their day. The typewriter, modern printing techniques, well stocked libraries and much more. They wrote and existed within their own times and what it was that compelled them to continue with their writing is a love for story telling and publishing these stories. I, like the rest of us, are writing within our own times and these days it is computers and software and the Internet and email and on and on, which has enabled us to be far more productive than we otherwise would be, which is exactly what the technologies of the past enabled as well--the ability to be more productive doing this thing we love.
Perhaps in some way I miss typewriters and I miss having to go to the library and search for information for books and then dealing with the pain in the ass librarian that seems to inhabit nearly every library in existence. And maybe I even miss having to mail hard copies of everything to editors and publishers. However, I think maybe what I miss is the ideal and allure of the past and the old because what an expensive pain in the ass it would be to have to mail every single thing I write to some unknown editor. And what a pain in the ass it would have been to have to retype this page because I was typing so fast I have a number of typos within it or because I wanted to alter a single paragraph.
So I now embrace this technology and have found my peace with it in much the same way that I think Hemingway and all the others would have. I am a man of my times (not really;).
Causes James Buchanan Supports
Expanding health care in the US, ending war as a viable tool of foreign policy, and issues related to social justice in general.