In Praise of Pen and Paper

People say flying is safer than driving.  I think there are a lot of reasons behind this.  For one thing, most people have a couple of cars, but few people have a couple of planes parked in front of their houses.  Unless they’re John Travolta.  Which means most people drive a lot more than they fly.  So there are more wrecks than there are plane crashes.

Doesn’t mean planes are way better than cars.  I like what one comedian said about it – “At least when my car stalls, I don’t plummet 30,000 feet.”  Good point, man.

Also, planes have creepy faces.

Also, planes have creepy faces.

Same with computers.  I like computers.  They make a lot of stuff easier.  You can copy and paste without glue, and you can save entire books to tiny travel drives that you can then lose, and you don’t get ink on your fingers or bed sheets.  I used to write in spiral notebooks with an erasable ink pen.  I couldn’t erase the ink  off my sheets, which happened because I always had a spiral and a pen in my bed writing stories, and sometimes forgot about them.  I used to have stacks of these notebooks.

I don’t write by hand much anymore.  I blame school for destroying my hand with all the notes I had to write.  My hand cramps if I write more than a paragraph now.  But that’s okay, because we have computers, and we can store stuff on the Internetz or even better on the Cloud.

I like clouds.  Sometimes they look like bunnies, or Velociraptors.  I’m not so sure about storing information on them. They don’t seem that stable, what with the fluffiness.

Happy little cloud . . .

Happy little cloud . . .

Last night I wrote on a story.  I spent a few hours.  And then I saved it.  I’m pretty sure I did, because it always asks if I’m sure I don’t want to save and it didn’t ask that.  Computers are supposed to check on you in case you’re stupid that way.  Right after it disappeared from the screen, I could not find it.  I thought it was accidentally saved in a temporary file. You can’t find those blasted things for anything.  I did all the stuff it said to recover files in the troubleshooting guide, except actually shoot the computer, which I was tempted to do.

There are various ways to extract files from your computer.

There are various ways to extract files from your computer.

I think my work is on a freaking cloud somewhere.  Poof.

Pen and ink might be old fashioned.  But when I’m done writing, it doesn’t plummet 30,000 feet into the cybersphere either.  Sometimes I miss the old days, even with inky sheets.

37 responses

  1. Eek. That sucks. Try using Google Docs. It auto-saves your documents after every change you make to it.

    1. Google docs . . . frack I am not with it, clearly. What is that?

      1. It’s an online app that you can create office documents with, but it’s all saved online.

        1. Ah, I see now. I will save on this. And a travel drive. And pay attention where I’m saving. And catch up to this freaking century.

          If only I could still write in ink too, I’d do that.

          1. Well, you can always print before you save…

          2. If only my printer worked. We were looking for a cord for it, and then we lost the software. And it’s not online. So big paperweight.

            We’re really sad people. An IT guy’s nightmare.

          3. Well, just move everything over to Google Docs and you’ll be good.

          4. I don’t see that happening…

          5. Did you know Google has not always been here? It’s true!

          6. Um, neither have computers or the internet…

          7. Nuh uh, those are like eternal!

          8. And Google is on both!

  2. I’m a big fan of the old school stuff. Records that can play on any record player for an unlimited time. Books with pages that turn. Phones that are just phones.

    1. Yeah I love it when people say we don’t need libraries anymore because it will all be saved on the internetz now forever. Excuse me while I laugh. Bwahahahahahaha.

  3. Everybody loves modern technology!

    1. It will solve EVERYTHING, Guap. Look at how much paper we’ve saved in our paperless society! Excuse me while I load the printer!

  4. Sometimes I miss the old days too. I noticed that I’m not able to write a simple birthdaycard by hand…. that’s crazy :o)

    1. I know. We have to sign birthday cards at the office and it’s like – how many ways can I write Happy Birthday? This is so much WORK.

  5. I become accustomed to typing so much that a pen and paper feel alien to me. My handwriting has gone to crap and it doesn’t take long for my hand to cramp up. I’m a mess.

  6. I found your story among the sheets in my bed. It’s the best thing I’ve ever read. I’m stealing it.

    1. You and the computer! That was totally my Pulitzer, eaten by cyberspace. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

  7. I had like a dozen diaries, all handwritten. They are gone now. I feel your pain.
    I miss chewing on pen caps.

    1. Oh, yeah, pen caps. I had those supposedly erasable ink pens that didn’t erase all that well. And erasers are kind of nasty, not like pin lids. And what happened to diaries? And letters? People are like, let’s email. But then there’s nothing left. That’s the most fun thing about archives is reading old letters. People were always cray, it turns out.

  8. Ink stains are a small price to pay for knowing that your writing won’t be lost… and probably aren’t the worst stains you have on your sheets anyway… you have kids. Kids are messy. Yeah, kids… that’s what I’m talking about. Yeah…

    I hate when my computer eats something I’ve written. Or my email gets sent into cyberspace never to return. Or any of the other myriad of things that can magically make my work disappear. It irks me. (I like that word: irk.)

    Okay, enough silliness for now. Carry on.

    1. I also get chocolate on my sheets. And my computer.

      1. I have that same problem. I try to get it all in my mouth, but… fail. Chocolate is a wily SOB.

  9. I can’t write more than my name these days without my hand cramping into the shape of a chicken foot.

    1. I recognize chicken foot syndrome. That’s a good name for it.

  10. Anytime someone says we don’t need libraries I shoot them.

    Libraries are awesome. They have books there. Lots of them. For free. And stuff for your nook, or kindle, if your so inclined.

    And my library has concerts and movies and seminars and chess club and kids stuff and its awesome. My son practically grew up in the library.

    Library haters should be shot on sight. Does that come off wrong?

    1. Sounds about right to me! I grew up in libraries too. I also have a Nook, but due to my pathetic computer skills, have yet to figure out how to check out books on it.

      1. Nooks are the equivalent of literary equivalent of dildos.

        They do the job, but to me? They just don’t give me the same feeling as the real thing.

  11. I actually had that same thing happen at work on Thursday. After I finished taking notes for a meeting. For my director.

    I suck.

    1. Oh, man, that’s even worse. At least no one was really expecting what I wrote. Computers suck.

  12. I still write quite a lot by hand, but that’s mainly because my printer hates my laptop and it takes too long to persuade them to talk to each other. And I always write in a fountain/cartridge pen, or pencil, because that way it stands a chance of coming out semi-legible.

    And if it’s on paper, there’s no worry about the computer crashing or deciding it to save it in outer mongolia. Unless you’re me, in which case I have to make sure if it’s an important piece of paper, I put it somewhere I won’t loose it – such as in my glasses.

    1. Good point. I’ve lost a lot of important pieces of paper before. Hey, honey, where’s the shot records / marriage certificate / birth certificate, etc. I wonder if they’ll stop with the paper copies of those and just send you an email. Congrats, it’s a baby, check your email it might have gone to junk.

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