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 From Crayons to Gel Keyboards

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Jae Baeli
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Number of posts : 103
Age : 55
LOCATION : Denver, CO
JOB/HOBBIES : Author, Editor, Artist, Webmaster, Singer-Songwriter
FAVORITE AUTHORS : Dean Koontz, Jeff Lindsey, Laramie Dunaway,Darian North, Richard Dawkins, Raymond Obstfeld
GENRES IN WHICH I WRITE : Novels, Stories, Technical, Business, Academic, Scientific, Copy, Scripts, Journalism, Memoir, Humor, Essay, Blog, Reviews, Poetry, Lyrics
Registration date : 2008-11-22

PostSubject: From Crayons to Gel Keyboards   Wed Nov 26, 2008 4:25 pm

(15 February 2002)

The Evolution of the Writing Instrument

When I was a toddler, I recorded my lofty thoughts with my favorite Crayola, teal blue, from my selection of 64 crayons of "Different Brilliant Colors." I recall that I never wrote on walls or furniture as some children are wont to do. I preferred to save my creative endeavors, and felt it unlikely that I could rip down part of the wall and hide it in my sock drawer. So I wrote on paper. Colorfully.

As I grew older, I moved to pens and pencils. Colored ones, at first, so that the transition from rainbows to uninspired black lines would not be overly traumatic. Bic, Eberhard, Trusty--always number two, because number three was too light, and any other one smudged. I filled spiral notebooks and steno pads with stories and poetry, and even wrote my first novel in one of those record books with the hard covers. I had to have a pen or pencil that flowed (or flew, if past tense rules are followed logically), because my mind would charge ahead and I would have to write quickly to keep up. This is probably why my handwriting became such an infantile hieroglyph.

I spent my entire young adult life (as if I'm some doddering old lady--although, come to think of it, I have been known to dodder on occasion) typing up my quaint little stories on what I now (lovingly) refer to as a Smith Corona AK-47. The bell at the end of the right margin informed me of an empty clip. It wouldn't have been so bad, except I was continually chasing this piece of machinery across my desk. I knew I'd either have to nail it down or buy a heavier model.

The heavier model turned out to be an IBM PC, which seemed the ultimate technology in 1985. I felt so important. I had an actual computer to take care of all that busy work that often dissuades writers from finishing those laborious and voluminous novels. I went through just about every obligatory software there was. EasyWriter, Easy Working Writer, Professional Write, and finally, WordPerfect 5.1, which I learned to hate, then found MS Word, which i use to this day.

Irony available here: upon editing and updating this piece of writing, I had to convert it to Word (for Windows)--the program I have used for the last five years--and I won't change to anything else again. I mean it. Really.

Consequently, I have a profusion of floppy disks that hold various writings within various programs. The transfer process began to get old after I finally goteverything switched over to Professional Write, and then discovered WordPerfect. I swore up and down that I would never change again; WordPerfect was the program for me; it was too much trouble to switch everything to another; I WOULD NOT learn another damn program. Then I realized that it really was difficult to remember all the function keys. I still had to glance at the cardboard reference chart suspended next to the monitor to remind myself that center was Shift F6, not Ctrl F6, or Alt F6. After two years of this continual referencing, the idea of Windows with icons that I could simply point to and select, grew more and more appealing. I exercised my female right to change my mind, and announced that my very next purchase would be Windows 3.1. But only WordPerfect for Windows, since I had slaved over it for two years. I had to save at least some face.

So now that I have trudged through the Swamp of Software, survived the Morass of Manuals, and emerged a Word Processing Force to be Reckoned With (or, With Which to be Reckoned, if I want to be grammatically correct), it eventually
became time to retire the old IBM, since it was showing signs of not only wear, but a sort of computer strain of Alzheimer's. So my IBM PC-asaurus, has faded into a fossil in some technological graveyard of keyboards, joysticks, CPU's, LCD Monitors, and dot-matrix roller printers, and undoubtedly a 22nd Century archaeologist will dig them all up and snicker at its crudeness.

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