It is strange to stand where I am today, on a hill, not a high hill, but a hill just the same, and to look down into the valley where I started writing when I was a teenager. I started with a pencil and pen and paper, writing in those Mead notebooks, writing and writing and not sure what I was writing for or where it was going. I remember reading these wonderful books, these great stories and wanting to do that, wanting to tell those stories. I didn’t want to be those authors, but I wanted to tell those stories. I mentioned it before but I lost the biggest, most ambitious piece I wrote back in those days in an unfortunate accident, but the story lingers in me, and the work was not in vain.
Pen and paper went the way of the whale when I got a word processor as a graduation present. It was a Brother something or other and was an in-between to a computer. It had a monitor and was electronic and it was beautiful. I wrote so much stuff with that. It was simple, it didn’t do a lot, but my god did I love it. I wrote stories, articles and reviews for the ‘zines I did with my friends, and then however many love letters I wrote back then. The hell of the word processor was that I had all this work saved only in that format and when I upgraded to a computer well, a lot of it was lost. And that is hard. It’s hard to let those go, those ghosts, those ex-stories. It’s hard to know that many are lost. Not all, some made it into Back From N othing, heck a lot of them did, but a lot were lost too. But then, losing stories is something I have gotten used to.
A computer was different, and still is. Writing long hand is so intimate, and connects you so much with the story, it becomes part of you in a way. Writing on a computer makes the story fluid, always changing, always moving and evolving. That is good for the story, but it takes the connection away. I love writing on a computer because I can write, edit, and post it or send it from one device. Not bad. The convenience is a hell of a thing, but it does take some of the fun away. I have to admit though that I wouldn’t go back to longhand. I just can’t stand writing and re-writing something. I did that for years. Handwriting the story, or a hunk of it, then going back and typing it and using the original piece as starting point.
I guess it is the same with all arts, all crafts, all passions. You start somewhere and you move from there. I started taking pictures on old simple 35mm cameras, then a simple digital camera, now a prosumer camera. I began painting rough pictures and have gotten better with time and work, experimenting as I go.
It’s always about experimenting and finding what works best but as we evolve our passions we do leave something behind. And that is growth, that is life, but sometimes you need to look back and see where you came from and how you got your start in order to really appreciate where you are.