You flip open your computer. Now, seemingly, you have a choice. You can check email, yes. You can see what’s up with your neglected friends on Facebook. OK. But what else can you do?
Well, you could write. Did you know these gadgets are also writing machines? When you reach over to click “Like” on your neglected friend’s posted video clip, did you know your fingers are passing over a keyboard, filled with keys, all the letters of the alphabet? This baby makes words, stories, worlds!
What could you write? You could write a letter. Imagine scooting your chair into a desk and before you is a manual typewriter. It waits patiently for you to write something. The thought bubble above its head is, “Write.” All you can do is write. Ease behind a laptop, however, and it is thinking, “Surf!” “Browse!” “Check!” “Shop!” “Drop!” Buried in there is this notion of “Write.”
For a while now, I’ve been thinking that computers are essentially anti-writing machines. The email button says, “Compose,” but how often do you truly compose something, even for email? It’s 99% logistics. Even when we try to be newsy, it’s too easy to erase. One of the beautiful things about typewritten letters, was that you rambled. You typed a paragraph or two about something and then changed course, but instead of zapping that fragment of a story, you left it in there. Eventually, you pieced together a mosaic of your recent life, gave it a tri-fold and mailed it off to a physical mailbox by a tree or a path or some stairs.
But wait a minute, you say. You’re not a writer. You didn’t get this machine for writing. You got it for…well, what? For work? For surf, browse, check? That’s fine. I’m probably not talking to you, though I suspect you may be more of a writer or artist than you give yourself credit for.
Anyway, time to check email and get to “work.”