No one crumples their paper any more.
I’m glad. I care about trees. So I’m happy that my worst days as a writer don’t mean peril for a forest. At best, a bad day at the keyboard just means a workout for the DELETE key; most of the time, I can backspace the bad stuff, replace it with something better, and move on. At worst, an entire file goes to the digital trash bin.
Ninety-nine percent of the time, I can say, “No trees were harmed in the formation of these phrases.”
But once upon a time, writers must have struggled through reams of paper and gallons of ink. Community bonfires may have been started on the first-draft briquettes of aspiring poets and novelists. Nosy villagers might have seen mountains of crumpled drafts, assuming their neighbors witless or wordless or hopeless or drunk.
I’m glad I didn’t write in those days.
This evening, knowing I could come home and compose words on a virtual page, I felt liberated. Waiting for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, I scrawled a few words on my dinner napkin …
It’s true. I can’t remember the last time I wrote something longhand, then looked at it with such dissatisfaction that I wanted to destroy it. Typically, the most I write longhand these days is a check. And those are few and far between, thanks to debit cards.
So it was an odd feeling to crumple this hand-written napkin into a ball. But I did it. Then I flicked it across the table to my husband.
“Are we playing?” he wanted to know.
“Absolutely,” I said.
What a concept, I thought, to play with throw-away words. But why not? Words may be one of the only unlimited resources we have.
So let’s play. We can always make more.