I am writing the first draft of this column in pencil while lying on an air mattress in an otherwise unfurnished apartment for which I have not yet gotten furniture or Internet access.
The point is not that I write like this, but that professional writers almost never do anymore. Although writing is one of the simplest artistic endeavors (you just need a pencil, a notebook and the quaint belief that anyone cares what you think), more and more writers rely on advanced technology.
Normally, I’d be typing this right into a word processor, which checks my spelling and, in some cases, makes my jokes funnier and my characters more sympathetic. In the meantime, I’d be listening to CDs, playing Minesweeper (hoping someday women will be impressed with how fast I play) and going online.
Especially going online.
That’s the big crutch. Take away a writers’ Internet access and we flop around like trout on a hubcap. Trout on a hubcap? That doesn’t even make sense. But I’ve written it down and I can’t change it because I forgot how to erase anything without a delete key.
Anyway, I was saying we’re lost without the Internet – like an innocent child is lost without its global positioning system device (boy, I wish I could erase that, too). For instance, right about now in this essay, I might explore whether other people’s writing has gained certain qualities once they started using more technology. So I would run online search terms on “writing” and “Internet” and the names of specific authors and eventually I’d wind up reading about women who hunt. My mind wanders.
But after that, and after a couple of games of Minesweeper that finally would draw women to my house, I’ll add a couple of lines of information that you wouldn’t otherwise know unless you went on the Internet yourself – and frankly, why don’t you?
But without being able to do that, I have no choice except to write this week’s column with blanks where I’d otherwise get content from online, misspellings where Microsoft Word would otherwise fix them, personal information instead of news, and rambling instead of cogent data from wikipedia.
My subject is pants.
Pants were first invented in _____, and from that day to this, none of them have fit me. Waist bands are always an even number of inches, and my waist is always a prime number – 5, 17, 37, 53, etc.
Speaking of interesting things I found in the same notebook as the one in which I’m writing this, the Bavarian Illuminati were founded in 1776. How about that, heh?
In conclusion, perhaps _____ ______ said it best when he said, “__’_ ____ __ ____________ _ ______ __ ___ ______, ___ ___ ____ __ ________.”
(First published in December, 2003.)