Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shakespeare Didn't Have A Lap Top

It's Wednesday here on the hill and there's a light snow drifting down from above on the wings of a light, cold breeze. Winter's grip can still be felt pretty strong here in Clifton Forge, though a trip west last night showed me that we are experiencing the lighter side of a  heavy winter.

In Lewisburg there are still streets covered with a blanket of icy white. As I drove my wife to chorale practice last night, we made our way through an old, well established subdivision with large, two and three story houses and sidewalks lined with streetlamps. They were all buried in feet of snow. It was hard to tell how much there was on the ground, but there were split rail fences that were nearly completely buried. The longer we were in town, the harder it snowed. As we left there was no doubt in our minds that they would get the six inches that was forecast for the area last night.

Since the stage at Carnegie is being fixed up, the Greenbriar Valley Chorale has been practicing in an Episcopal church just down the road a bit. The church opened up their fellowship hall to the chorale and they eagerly went to work. With the weather being bad, I stayed around in the back of the hall last night with my trust mp3 player and notebook and cranked out quite a few pages. It was a very productive evening.

After an hour and a half I had written almost eight full handwritten pages in my notebook. It doesn't sound like a lot of output for 90 minutes, but it really is. When I  looked at my final tally for the evening I considered briefly the question of whether I would be better off writing my first draft on a computer. I decided against it, since I liked the portability and ease of a notebook.

This morning I read a blog posting that only served to further reinforce my decision from last night. Over at The Writer Unboxed, one of their bloggers is visiting Paris and decided to keep a journal of her trip. Instead of using a laptop she found a nice notebook and pen, much like the writers of old once did, and is keeping her journal in that for the duration of her trip.

Sometimes ideas just require a handwritten touch. A lot of people ask me why I don't do my first drafts in any sort of word processing software and I just prefer the ease of being able to take my work anywhere I go. With a notebook I don't have the hassle of finding an outlet for a laptop or constantly monitoring my battery status. I don't have to go through the hassle of finding a desktop to plug my jump drive into (that I constantly lose anyway).

Most importantly, writing in a notebook slows my thinking and creating down to a pace that I can record it. I can type a lot faster than I write and I can think a lot faster than I do either. Typing sometimes gives me the false hope that my hands can keep up with my thoughts and things tend to get messy and confused soon after that happens.

I may be a little old fashioned in this, but I'm OK with that. Shakespeare didn't have a laptop.

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