Scandalous Confessions of a Technophobe


Technology is constantly changing and evolving. In my 51 years on the planet, it’s amazing how many things have been invented, or at least, refined and improved. Similarly, as writers, we all have definitely noticed many important changes in the technology involved with writing. Back in 2012, I published my first ebook, called "Dead Reckoning". The fact that an important plot point of this story was Luddism, was no accident. I’m not technically a Luddite, but I do share many of their characteristics. (Or maybe this is just a high-minded excuse for my ineptness with, and fear of, technology.) Whatever the case, I have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into every new technology, and usually I’m a good decade behind everyone else. To illustrate, I sent my first email in 2001, still have CD’s instead of an iPod, and am totally at sea concerning new cell phones with Internet access, which I call computer phones.
Anyway, like probably a lot of people of the age and time, in the early 1980’s, we wrote using pencil or pen and paper. As we got older, and it became apparent that some of our handwriting was crappy, combined with the more formal requirements of  junior high and especially high school papers, we all began typing. Many families had an electric typewriter instead of a manual one, but that’s about where its sophistication ended. The typewriter didn’t even have a “return” key—you had to pull a lever for that.
Typos were difficult to deal with—you could use White Out/Liquid Paper, which worked okay, but required time to dry before typing over, or use correction tape, which was essentially the same as the other two, except it came in solid tape form that you put between the paper and the key bars.
High school kids of the time, were required to take a typing class. I got solid “B’s”—I did very well on the written quizzes and tests (the “theory" of typing), but did very poorly on the speed typing exercises. We were timed to see how many words per minute you could get, with up to five mistakes allowed. An “A” for like 60 or 70 words per minute, B for 50 to 60, and so on down. I barely scraped by with “D’s” due to my glacial 30-35 words per minute. The class did help—I went from horrifically slow, hunt/pecking, two finger typing, to just slow, but real, ten finger typing.
When the college years hit, kids of that age received a gift of The Next Big Thing—an electric typewriter with a built in correction key. This one had two typewriter ribbons—the regular black ink, and a white correction one. When you hit “correct” it went back one space, and spread the correction substance over the letter. It was a big improvement over the older method, as it was contained and automatic, plus the correction tape was instantaneous, so you could type over right away. The typewriter had some other features, too, it could retain a line or two of copy in a primitive computer chip and then type it out later, but almost needless to say I didn’t even try to learn this, and stuck with the basic system.

Read the entire article in the November 2022 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

You can just click on the magazine image on the left hand side of our home page to open and enjoy!


If you would like to receive the magazine every month (for FREE!) , just sign up on our home page. Once you do, an e-mail validation notice will be sent directly to you. Just open and click the link and you're in - forever!  Each month the magazine will be delivered directly to your inbox to downlad and read!