09 July 2006

My Shield and Dagger - Computer or Pen and Ink?

I wake up on a Sunday Morning with the intention of writing – not emailing, not sorting out my website or clearing up my computer. Writing – that exercise which is creative, productive and gives wings and earthly standing to my thoughts.

I lie in bed with the words ricocheting around my head. Then comes that crunch moment when I have to decide whether to carrying on lying in my comfort zone or get out of bed and switch on the computer to work. The very act of movement and inviting technology into my thought process destroys the illusion of freedom and the concept of free-running creativity, the image, the ideal, the dream rattling around my brain, so vital and urgent, that is until I moved. Freedom of thought all shut down and distracted.

My tutor friends and other authors say the way forward is to write on paper. But I do that the rest of the week, little scribbled notes, and throwaway comments which never get to see the light of day as finished prose. I find this frustrating and incomplete – nothing finished and no concept explored to finalised reality. Poetry which promises much from the scraps of words - forgotten and discarded when the emotion and impetus of the spark is extinguished by tiredness, guilt and work deadlines. So the computer it must reluctantly be.

I embrace the freedom that my computer(s) offer me. I have three, and I find them amazing to work on. I can edit, rewrite, reread, misspell, and lose completely, often never to be seen again, pieces of work, all with cheerful abandonment. But computers are intrusive to the process. They buzz and make little humming noises to themselves, freeze and crash at will, and have illegal errors. Also my computers are linked to the internet…so much procrastination and so little time to do it…this is the biggest problem I have – my lack of self-discipline and restraint.

Paper and Pen offer exemption from these distractions, but raise other issues. My pen constantly runs out of ink – so what colour shall I use to fill it? and the paper gets dog-eared and stained rattling around in my bag, waiting for it to be remembered and referred to. The tactile nature of my brain’s involvement though offers a different delight to technology. The main disadvantage to this being used during the week though is it is more difficult to disguise when working attentively at your desk in the office J

So I will have to embrace both worlds - writing again on paper on Sunday Mornings and disciplining myself to transpose at another time, and just trust to hope and fate that some vital phrases don’t get lost and never see the late of day – on their way to the 21st century technology. Any other thoughts?

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