Monday, September 15, 2008

Writing Technologies

Throughout the history of Man, the tools for writing used by humans have evolved drastically over the years. From the papyrus and parchments, stone tablets, scrolls, codex of the ancient times, to the laptop screens of today. Even on a much smaller scale, with technologies of the world rapidly improving, a young mind can see the changes wrought in the world around him or her.

Such is the case with me, on some level.

When I was a child, I was first taught to write on paper with pens and pencils. Not too much later, I was taught in class how to write cursive, and then on a computer. What is important is how I was taught to navigate writing - - especially when choosing between writing on a computer or writing with pen and paper. In those halcyon days of youth, the computer was still a new thing, and it was often referred to by teachers in almost hushed and reverential tones: as if it was possible to break or hurt the feelings of computers through over-use (which is not necessarily untrue). So from those beginning days, I was "encouraged" to write my rough ideas, even my rough drafts, on paper. Later, after I had properly molded my ideas I would then use the almighty computer to generate my finished product.

This sentiment has stuck with me even in my adult years. I find it very difficult to brainstorm or hammer out ideas on a computer screen, and I still think, in the back of my mind, there is still that teacher looking over my shoulder urging me not to over use the delicate and moody computer.

However, my comfort and ease with the using the computer for writing has grown over the years. I can touch-type (for the most part). I can type very fast, although I've never really tried to time this. I noticed that now, it is much easier for me to type my carefully crafted and molded ideas (which had been previously fumbled about on paper) than it ever was before. The speed at which I type has surpassed my speed at writing with pens or pencils, though I still feel very comfortable in both arenas.

I suppose the only real difficulty I would would face with writing tools would be if I tried to use a typewriter. When I first learned how to use a computer, typewriters were still around (or at least, still around my school). I don't quite remember clearly, but I do believe I had a few mandatory run-ins with the type writer as a child before completely moving on to computers...and never looking back. It would be years later that I approached the typewriter again, this time looking at it like some ancient relic, some quaint and charming novelty, from ages of antiquity. When I tried to use it, it was awkward and slow, yet still, there was something more tactile and natural than using a computer. There's something to be said about actually seeing the parallel in your key strokes and the tiny arms of the typewriter flicking forward and stamping the page with its mark.

I look forward to the future, when we no longer type or write, we simply text each other in short hand, instantly sending messages to each other through the implants in our brains.

Actually, on second thought, I hope I'm long dead when that happens.

---B, signing off.

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