If I have an idea for a novel or a shopping list or this blog post, I’d rather write it with pen and paper. I don’t care that smartphones have Notepad and even Sound Recorder features. Writing is always easier. In cursive, as a matter of fact, so teach it in the schools.
I’ll happily read books on either Kindle, hardcover, or paperback. Whichever exists. I like to read in bed, and my cat likes to curl up on my neck, so I can’t rest my book upon my person. Thus, the Kindle might even be better. But I love them all. Medium not message. So if books printed on paper vanish one day, we’ll live. Even though they don’t need batteries.
I like the old business card. I don’t care if you can tap your Samsungs together because, again, a card’s still easier. I meet you, I stick your card in my pocket, I take it home to my computer, I process the information and then I don’t need your card anymore. But I did then. And hey, here’s mine. It’s pretty.
I always edit everything on the computer screen first. I think it’s perfect. Then I print it out and see the mistakes I missed. Paper’s better.
I used to write my novels on paper. Then I learned to type faster than I write. I guess we can assume all novelists will type like I do one day. But if I get an idea while I’m walking or bicycling, I’ll still reach into my pocket for pen and paper, not into my other pocket for a smartphone.
When I find a nice long article on the Internet that I want to sink into, I’ll print it. Sometimes I feel guilty about the carbon footprint, but that’s life. Maybe one day computer screens will be so much better and tablets so much thinner that I won’t feel the need to print things. Maybe they’ll replace newspapers and magazines. Newspapers first, because their size is awkward.
Do I have paper documents in my fire safe that are so important that they can’t live on my computer? Yep. Will the world always be that way? Maybe not. Maybe my birth certificate, social security card, driver’s license, and bank stuff can live on a chip on the back of my hand like Babylon 5. And as for all my novels, I don’t have paper copies. They’re on hard drive and flash drive and SkyDrive. But do you think every single company on earth will one day confidently keep all its most vital files electronically with no paper backup? I don’t.
So we’re going to cut down on paper, sure. Good thing, too. Use it to wipe your counter tops and orifices. But it won’t vanish. For scribbled notes, for editing, for big documents like blueprints that would be illegible on a computer screen, for the humble business card, and even for your kid’s fun with finger paints and crayons, there will be paper.
Oh, and this post was inspired by a blog post over at Maggie Madly Writing. I bet she does some of her madlyness on paper.