I often marvel at how far I seem to have time-travelled in less than one life’s span. We are all, in fact, time travellers, living a life partly dreamt but sometimes barely imagined when we were younger. Driverless cars, 3D printing, seeing almost to the edge of the known universe, was this not the stuff of science fiction in the not-so-distant past?
And how frequently have our elders and betters misjudged our present future in times past: regular visits to the Moon, a pill for everything with no side effects, an end to poverty, superstition replaced by science.
My musings have been kickstarted by simply sitting down to write this post.
In the last century I would have written down key words in a notebook or scrap of paper, maybe even begun an opening paragraph, found a suitable epigram to discuss or a conclusion to aim for. And then redrafted, and redrafted, and redrafted. I never yielded to that commonplace writer’s trope of lobbing screwed-up paper balls at a wastepaper basket — every bit of writing has salvageable value, of course — but the endless rewriting was something that I never relished, in fact always hated, especially when I’d almost finished before spotting a massive error, missing paragraph or miscopied page.
Now I merely start, indulge in a little bit of cut-and-paste and press PUBLISH. The hardest bit usually is choosing a suitable illustration to head up the post. Some posts I even upload or schedule on my dinky little phone-cum-notebook-cum-camera-cum-search-engine … well, you get the picture. (Sorry, no pun intended.)
I thank my parents for many things — when I’m not blaming them for possibly ruining my young life — and one of them is providing a portable typewriter for my 16th birthday; another is encouraging me to teach myself to touch-type on an old beast (an Imperial, I think) looking a little like the Remington above. With both I have strong memories of pain and occasionally RSI as I bashed away at keys, trying to eke out the last bit of ink in the typewriter ribbon or from a tatty bit of carbon paper. Yes, before the days of correcting fluid I’d have to resort to the wastepaper bin (ink rubbers were the devil incarnate to me) but at least the worst of the waste was avoided by careful drafting.
The portable typewriter lasted until I migrated to a friend’s electric machine, followed a little later by my green screen Amstrad and its associated dot-matrix printer. If none of this rings any bells with you then you either were — like my grandkids — born in the 21st century or have only just arrived from the planet Zog.
Or have somehow fast-forwarded as a time traveller from the ancient past.
Nearly time to wish you all the best for 2016. How has your blogging year been? Have you been indulging in a little retrospection too, whether of the last twelve months or further back? I do hope the New Year takes you nearer your goals or allows you to aim for fresh ones.