I was typing away, completing some changes to a couple of stories, when my computer froze. I tried to reboot it, but it would not respond; I switched off the power, but it did not start-up again. The end had come for my laptop of six years.
I went shopping for a replacement and purchased a tablet, a lighter more compact device that boasted more capability than my laptop. The technicians said they could transfer files from my old computer and install them on the new computer – but only if there was no damage to my original hard drive. I waited twenty-four hours to hear if my files could be saved. I silently cursed for not manually backing up my last two days of edits. Now I was faced with the slim possibility that I would not be able to recover my recent work. I wandered into my writing room, and stared at the empty spot where my computer once sat. A stack of notebooks and journals reclined on the corner of my desk; on top were my printed drafts of the last two days. I smiled – even with the loss of technology, all my work still survived.
All my original ideas, outlines, drafts, images, and poetry are handwritten in soft notebooks, hardcover journals, and leather-bound paperbacks. I do most of my editing on the printed page. Computers have come a long way over the years, but technology is never perfect – it changes so fast, there’s always something newer, brighter and faster – and there’s always something that can crash. It’s a comfort to know the notebooks will always be there.
I will, no doubt, love my new and efficient tablet – but I will never underestimate the old-fashioned charm of handwriting in a notebook. The writing can’t stop simply because technology does.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.