Thursday, September 23rd, 2004
In college and high school I wrote most papers on a Corona typewriter and I can still feel the paper and sense myself grasping a page after lifting it out of the platen, leaning to read under the 60 watt bulb, pencil ready. It was a pain in the ass. Still, people remember the physical nature of this kind of writing, the lining up of the paper, the insertion of onion sheets, the quick roll with the thumb, the ching of the carriage bell, the slap of the return, and those old pictures, of course, of famous writers at their Underwoods, draft boxes, and ash trays.
I wrote with the typewriter and the word processor, when available. And left the TW pretty quick because of the light. But what about process. Yesterday I went through the routine with the creative writers who have to save drafts of their work. Poem_1.doc becomes a save as as poem_2.doc or txt. A totally different process of drafting and keeping track of things. I have drafts of old novels written years ago in boxes, all scribbled over, and still have piles of old drafts from the typewriter, scribbled over. These relics are distinct. Maps of change. Maps of thought process, a landscape.