If this story was done 50 years ago, I would imagine that we would be slaving over the issue with typewriters. Beneath the hammering of keys and the hypnotic click-clack of cast iron on paper, your canvas would lay. Clean, fresh. No windows, no folders, no YouTube — a writer’s dream, perhaps a nightmare for some. Thoughts, filtered and potent, it would be in your power to change pulped trees into a seminal book of the era — To Kill a Mocking Bird or The Outsiders.
You would have 50 ideas, 50 ways of creating that illusion and there’ll probably be 50 interpretations of your work. You’ll be free of any encumbrances — no forum pages, no Wikipedia. Alone with your 50 opinions, you’d seek like minds, debate with differing souls. Ultimately, you would have had time to form your own beliefs and judgements.
50 years on, we sit, tortured from over stimulation, hunched over powerful machines that scientists of the day envisioned to fill entire rooms. Even as I type this, I’ve seen nine internet videos, listened to eight songs on iTunes, replied to 23 emails, looked at 10 Facebook profiles and you’ve guessed it — had 50 distractions.
There is little craft nowadays. We just type, mental diarrhoea, unfettered by the fear of mistakes. Sadly, more often than not, we click send all too quickly. A typo here, a mistake there, lives untouched by the once familiar smell of Tippex correction fluid or the welcome “Ding!” at the end of a sentence.
I had a typewriter once. It was my father’s. I never had the foresight to take it with me when the family moved. 50 years from now, I’ll probably regret it.