Thursday, February 5, 2009

Life in the Computer Age

Hello All,

I was just thinking what great strides have been made in communications since I was a little kid.

Probably my first memories of the joys of writing center around the stacks of paper scraps my grandmother brought home from her job at Vail Bleu Press in Binghampton, NY where she ran a linotype machine. She was a typesetter in a factory that printed textbooks, and I guess the paper she brought home was trimmings from the books the press produced.

The next thing relating to writing that I remember clearly were the yellow pencil and pulp paper tablets - you know - the ones with the lines far apart. The school system gave use one of each on which to do our homework. I drew pictures, and made paper dolls for my girlfriends. Everyone wanted them. I can't remember if I ran out of paper before the end of the month, but paper and pencil were definitely important.

When I was in my 30s, I tried keeping a journal, but the wrong person read my comments and that changed the course of my life. I ended up divorced and writing my memoirs on a legal pad, in pencil. My significant other at the time bought me a very used typewriter, and I hacked at that monster for years, turning out one manuscript rife with erasures and mistakes in grammar and spelling.

I was scared to death I was going to break my first computer, which represented freedom from paper and ink tapes, since one could make corrections forever before I printed a copy of my opus. Hoorah. Did I break the computer. NO... did technology catch me up and rear-end me when I was working away? Heck yes!

Employment at a small-town daily taught me to write fast - and to write clean. It also hinted at something I could hardly believe: the fact that computers in two different places could communicate with one another! Wow.

The next thing I knew, I was online and not only selling on ebay, but writing novel after novel in my spare time. Once, on a dare, I wrote an entire novel (a mystery) in only 28 days. It can be done. My publisher took it right away, said it was in really good shape. I don't know.

I work with my spell and grammar check turned on and always try to repair things flagged, but the gremlins still get in my work and my books in print still have errors - I guess the computer geeks are still trying to get the bugs out.

I just hope I don't have to get back to those legal pads and yellow pencils. So, write on and keep on the sunny side! Terry

Terry L White -Author of the Chesapeake Heritage Series
"Travel Through Time With Terry"

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