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Thread: What do you write with?

  1. #16
    Registered User 108 fountains's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Falls Church, Virginia
    After a long time of resisting modernity and feeling that a keyboard would never allow my emotions and imagination to flow in quite the same way as when I write with a pen and paper, I finally made the switch several years ago and now I write exclusively on the computer (Microsft Word). Now I can't imagine ever going back to pen and paper.

    Having access to modern technology for writing has caused me to have even greater respect - astonishment is not too strong a word - for earlier generations that had only paper and ink to write with. I have a paperback version of Huckleberry Finn that includes xeroxed copies of pages from Twain's original manuscript. It's amazing to see the cross-outs, the arrows and the added words, even added paragraphs cramped into corners of the pages. And I am at a loss for words for people like Dickens who had to come up with monthly installments of lengthy works without the possibility of ever going back to revise earlier chapters as their stories progressed.

    The great advantage of electronic word processing, to me, is the ability to make revisions and reorganizations/rearrangements that would be difficult, time consuming, and really impossible to make otherwise. Plus there is the advantage of easy storage and the ability to print an infinite number of copies. (I still remember in 1986 buying a typewriter with a new technology - it had a one-page memory so that I could actually make copies without using cabon paper!)

    Having the spelling and grammar tools are nice, but I generally don't rely on them. I do like having an online dictionary at my fingertips, and I do often switch screens and go to Google when I am in need of fact-checking or when I am looking for some background on a particular subject.

    Marbles and DATo, I found your exchange extremely interesting and thought-provoking. You both have valid points. I would tend to take a middle ground. The use of technology, particularly Internet searches, certainly does offer the potential for writers to become lazy and/or to skim web pages in order to gain a superficial knowledge of a subject that can be injected into their work to give the false appearance that they have a deeper knowledge of the subject than they actually have. On the other hand, a good writer, such as DATo, can use the same technology for purposes such as fact-checking dates or basic information about a specific event or person or place without pretending to be an expert on the subject.

    I agree that there has been "a gradual dumbing down of the arts for the sake of popular appeal and mass market" and a "superficiality" in art, culture and education for at least the past 50 years, and that the technology of mass communications (TV and Internet) has contributed to that. On the other hand, mass communication has also allowed for an unprecedented amount of access to the best of classic and modern literature and other forms of art, as well as to historical and cultural information. (On this site, with a few clicks of the mouse, I have free access to the complete works of Shakespeare, Dickens, T.S. Eliot, Kipling, Tolstoy...) The key when looking for information on the Internet, as Marbles said, is to be sure "one's sources are impeccable."

    So in my opinion, the technology is there to be put to excellent use, but for any number of reasons, people tend to use the technology in superficial, even harmful ways. What I find truly disheartening is the number of people who are satisfied with superficiality and accept it and even embrace it. The best and brightest of us have created technologies that should allow humanity not only to progress, but to soar to greatness. Humanity is only humanity, however, and we still carry the prejudices and superstitions and small-mindedness that keep us tethered to mediocrity.

    I do have some optimism, however. I would think that there must have been just as much mediocrity and "bad art" in days past as there is today, but that through the collective effects of history and a human society that progresses in fits and starts, the best has filtered its way to the top and the worst has been long forgotten. Even with the unprecedented numbers of blogs and self-publications that modern technology allows today, some of which is pretty awful, I am hopeful that the same historical and social processes will eventually separate today's wheat from its chaff.
    A just conception of life is too large a thing to grasp during the short interval of passing through it.
    Thomas Hardy

  2. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Laptop for certain. Easy to correct typos and to edit afterwards.

    While on the go, tablet is nice. Even if I prefer the laptop, mainly because I'm still not used to touch screen keyboards, a tablet is a great tool on the go. I find few things more inspiring than sitting down in a pub or restaurant. Or on a train or bus and write surrounded by life.
    "Some things in life need solitude to thrive. Will only flourish in seclusion and loneliness, without affection hushing and lulling them to sleep.
    The pursuit of dreams is such a thing."

    Tom Fitch - Intersection Diaries

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