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Yesterday I read in the paper, an interesting little item about the remarkable lady who writes the Harry Potter books. She is in the process of finishing the latest volume. She writes everything by hand using lined composition pads, like the one I’m using right now. She ran out of paper and said she had a terrible time finding more in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she lives in an upscale castle. She ran all over town and finally found a place where she could buy some. “What are they using in schools?” she asked. “Don’t tell me computers, I’ll feel completely out of place.”
The only thing I have in common with this gifted writer is the composition pads and pen. Don’t I wish I had been blessed with her fertile imagination and terrific ability to transcribe it into the written word. I just have never been into wizards and witches.
I laughed when I thought about the reaction of manufacturers and retailers of lined paper pads. They are missing out on a big deal. The lady is the richest person in the United Kingdom; richer even than the Queen, who’s worth billions, and she had to run all over Scotland’s main city before finally finding a shop that satisfied her need. She probably bought a truckload of pads. I would have if I were she. That’s a big sale to miss.
Everyone I know assures me that the one thing inn life I really need is a computer. I’m told I would be using it all the time. I doubt it. There wouldn’t be one sufficiently user friendly to get along with me.
Last weekend I sat at a computer with my granddaughter, looking for a book. I would have had an easier time using a card catalogue in a library. For one thing, I would have been able to read the cards. I know you can magnify anything printed on the computer but this involves pushing the right key and there’s the rub. I invariably push the wrong thing.
I’ve always been a good, accurate, fast typist. Go figure. Typing has been just about the only thing involving the use of hands that I’ve been able to do well. The computer has a different keyboard, and I can’t slow down to a hunt and peck method.
I had a friend who spent hours at their computer playing solitaire. Solitaire is a great game. I have a book with more than fifty versions of the game. I’ve only played four. That’s okay – I love digital cable with 200 channels and only use six. Anyway, to me, one of the best things about playing solitaire, or any card game, is the fun of using the cards. It is so neat to shuffle the pack, especially once you learn to bridge the deck. Dealing the cards, putting them in their proper places, moving them around, just handling them generally, is satisfying to me. I love the way cards fell. Therefore, I would not derive the same pleasure from playing with them electronically.
Typing conversations via email is also not my cup of tea - the lack of real communication, the absence of eye contact, and the pleasurable sound of the spoken word. I really do not think I would use a computer more than the telephone.
Remember how good it felt when you started the school semester with new notebooks and binders? The pages were so shiny and clean, just waiting for you to write, or draw, or even doodle on them. I would imagine an artist must feel the same way looking at a new canvas or sketch pad. Imagine how Michelangelo felt standing before a huge piece of marble waiting to be transformed into a statue. To be fair, I guess those geniuses of computer special effects get the same reaction facing a blank monitor and keyboard, or a writer-by-hand with a fresh pad of paper.
To each his own. I’m lucky to enjoy something as simple and easily available as a pad of lined paper. Available that is, except in Edinburgh. The lady explained she was “in a frenzy” of writing when she ran out of paper. This surely must have been as bad as having her pen go dry, or worse, running out of bathroom tissue, with no replacements at hand. Where’s a wizard like Harry Potter when you need one?
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