My past writing tools in retrospective have gone from a simple pencil and piece of paper to typing on a keyboard that allows me to print it out, store it on a storage cloud or post it on the internet for anyone to see. Times have changed.
I remember when I would write so much my wrist and thumb would hurt and cramp up so badly I had to write scribbles with my other hand the next day in school. Then my dad in all his wisdom brought home an old school typewriter that clickity-clackity sound that drove my mother insane. Nothing I typed on it ever made a bit of sense to me or anyone else. It was just the fact that it made noise. Once in high school I took a typing class. This class had electric typewriters that looked like the old fashioned ones with raised buttons and still clacked like crazy. Then I realized I could do a whole lot more than just occupy myself with noise. I could actually type things out and not have my hands hurt from writing. I was hooked. I begged my dad to buy a modern electric typewriter. It was a cream colored Brother typewriter that was so quiet you could hear the hum of the freezer on the other side of the house. It was one of those fancy one’s that used cartridges that had tape and on one side it had the carbon for the ink. I thought I was really something until my dad decided 4 cartridges in a week was getting a little too much on his wallet. He ended up not buying any more cartridges for me but instead came home with this huge screen that looked like a television from some other planet and along with it came a box with lights, buttons and slots, some floppy black things called floppy disks and a typewriter keyboard that plugged into the box. Dad said it was a computer. Huh?
Never seen one, never heard of one. Confuzzling if you asked me. But within three days dad had a printer, some games and blank disks. The one thing he brought home for it that captured my attention and once I got sat down with it, my attention was glued. A book for coding your own personal games like you would play on Atari. Space Invasion, Frogger and paddle ball were three of the ten games it taught you to code. I think every day for about six months I was at dad’s desk in his office every night after homework and dinner, doing nothing but making my own games. Until one night I got woken up to the sound of some garbly noises that sounded really weird. I peeked in on my dad and he was actually going online to check email. Another HUH? Okay so I went from writing to typing, then to digital doohickies, and now the internet? The World Wide Web? Mind Blowing! But oh so slow! Now it’s laptops, wifi and wireless printers and scanners. I get what I need to ten times faster and on really good days I can do it all have as fast as I would have on dial up or cable.
Don’t get me wrong. I still love the feel of a pencil in my hand. The smell of shavings after sharpening that wonderful and creative instrument. I am thrilled to have a piece of paper and write it all out. I wouldn’t give it up for anything. But I also have a passion for the digital age as well.
Times have changed but we can still stop and take a hold of something old and have memories that are private and to be kept in a box to look at later.