Without even pausing to think, I would answer the question of what I’m thankful for as a writer with one word: computers! Of course, I have plenty of other blessings that allow me to write, such as disposable time in which I can write and access to all sorts of reading material from which I’ve learned about good (and not-so-good) writing.
But without computers, I probably would still be limiting myself to the occasional, fairly short, poem. I don’t dictate easily because I work out my story ideas as I write, so a dictation would be full of “umm … no, let’s make that …” And my handwriting is too slow to keep up with a really good flow of ideas. Old-fashioned typewriters are faster but have mechanical limits on how fast they can go without tangling or skipping. And any of these three methods leaves you with physical cut-and-paste to rearrange ideas for better flow. Plus retyping a clean copy. Bleah!
I never would have realized that I enjoy writing if not for computers taking the work out of getting to clean copy. Computers let me type nearly as fast as I think. I can drag or cut-and-paste words sentences, paragraphs … whole chapters … with a couple of keystrokes, and only ever need to retype things i want to change. If I were the sort of person who could dictate, I could get software that would make the computer into my stenographer.
And now that netbooks exist, not to mention tablets and even smart phones, writers have very portable access to the joys of computer-assisted writing. As netbooks have become more popular, they’ve become more affordable… another cause for thanks-giving. I’m writing this 8 hours’ drive away from home, sitting on a sofa in my son’s apartment, working off of 5 hours remaining battery power even after doing a bit of typing in the car yesterday.
And the computer gives me a clearer, more searchable platform on which to store and view my work than the scraps of paper on which my poems always seem to get written. Yes, I write stories and blogs and news posts now, but I still do poetry from time to time … and I revise poetry from years, even decades, before. And sometimes I just enjoy being surprised by how much I still like something I wrote that long ago.
So, as autumn fades into winter and we pause to be thankful for blessings in our lives as writers, I share this poem as my reminder to myself that blessings abound, for me as a writer, but also in the many other aspects of my life. May you all find many blessings in your own lives for which to give thanks!
The year has come to fullness, green turned rusty
browns and sun-bleached tow. Gold-leafed trees
frame fields already shorn of grain and dusty
under late-year sun. Migrant geese
now glean through what remains. White wings
flash on high — dove? My mind argues
for urban pigeon strayed but heart clings
to Love’s icon, from whence hope issues.
Nature’s bounty is not claimed in
but scattered abroad. Squirrels
wind lofts seeds in clouds: milkweed,
aster, thistle. Berries load the
Nor should we salvation hoard.
given us is likewise meant as seed.
(c) Susan N.C. Price 2011