I have always loved writing. My mum tells me that at the age of three I would put on my backpack and, when our maid wasn’t watching, sneak out of the house looking for my mum who was a teacher at the local school. For me, going to school was all about writing in my little notebook with my pencil. Needless to say, my mum got so concerned with me walking out of the house that she enrolled me in school at the age of three and I started kindergarten.
I spent many years perfecting my writing style, from mastering the art of running writing to writing with a pen to working out if I prefered ink pens or biros. I was finally comfortable with a medium point biro when my mum dragged me off to secretarial school to keep her compamy while she learnt touch typing. Well, actually she went one step further and enrolled me in the secretarial school in my year 10 break. I found myself learning to type on a typewriter on which I had to slam the keys down to get a word on a page. It was a bit like a finger gym. Six weeks later, I was pretty good at slamming keys down without looking at the type writer and I felt really accomplished.
When I got to uni a couple of years later, I knew there was no way I could carry my typewriter around, even though my mum had invested in a ‘state-of-the-art’ electronic typewriter. I still enjoyed writing though. Taking down lecture notes almost word by word gave me a sense of satisfaction. However, when I started my post-graduate degree, we were asked to submit everything in typed format ….on a computer! I knew computers had keyboards similar to an electronic type writer, but they needed to be connected to a printer and I needed something called a 5 1/2 inch floppy to save my work on.
It was all getting too complicated now. But I had no choice. So enlisting the services of my tech savvy sister who was studying computer science, I learned how to use Word, Excel and Powerpoint and more importantly, how to save files (after losing two completed assignments because I turned the computer off without saving them on the day they were due; just a small technicality my sister thought I would know).
That was the beginning of the end of my companionship with paper and pen, but not with writing. I slowly moved away from typewriters and my desktop became my best friend. I could access the world from my desktop and I could access data instantly that I previously spent hours in the library searching for. Instead of me going to hunt for information, the information effortlessly came to me. I was connected by some mysterious means to an unlimited amount of information.
From the paper to the desktop to the laptop and now to a tablet, I sometimes wonder how I wrote as much as I did at uni taking endless lecture notes. I still love writing, but my pen is my iPad keyboard cover, not even a laptop, and my paper is my screen. I don’t hear this new paper rustle, it does not tear either, and I can’t scrunch it up and throw it in the bin. I do sometimes miss those functionalities and user experience of paper, but to be honest, my iPad screen has added functionalities that I cannot do without any more. I can even share this paper on multiple screens using the cloud.
I still slam the keyboard though…old habits die hard.