Tuesday 17 September 2019

An analogue author in a digital world - Tracy Darnton

Technology has conspired against me this month so, with apologies to all for the lack of a long blog of interest, I have smuggled this alternative message past my laptop.

I am an analogue person.
I like books, notebooks, fountain pens.
I have inky fingers.
I choose to sharpen my pencils and flick the shavings in the wastepaper basket.
I have a selection of fine pencil cases.

I write appointments in a tiny diary.
I like sending postcards. Even notelets.

My clocks have faces and hands and tick reassuringly.
I have beautiful hourglasses to time my writing.

Baking involves painstaking weighing of ingredients in balance scales and the juggling of tiny weights. Like a doll's grocers.

My car has wind-up windows.
I have a dog-eared roadmap and no SatNav.

I am happier as an analogue person.

I don't know the lingo - I may have completely misunderstood the nature of my opening line.

I don't like my laptop.
There, I said it.
I don't like my constantly crashing laptop which daily has some new horror:
display not loading,
Word not responding,
Google not responding.

All against the backdrop of holding my unbacked-up work ransom.
It knows there is no room left on my OneDrive - a concept which I only vaguely understand.

And it's switched to American spelling again.
It likes me to hunt for the @ key.

My laptop has taken offence at the large monitor I prefer to its tiny screen. It refuses to send any signal however much I change the HDMI cable and ask it nicely. I am reduced again to peering at one paragraph at a time.

I should have been a writer in times gone by - preferably a rich one, with a secretary in tweed in the corner. I could dictate my novel or hand over notebooks of scribbles and crossings-out.

Or maybe my little typewriter could be pressed into action.
If it weren't for the lack of a delete button.
If it weren't for the fact I'd be zonked out with Tippex fumes before the day was over. (Is Tippex still a thing?)

I shall have to bribe my IT department (teenager) to help again with a packet of Twirl bites.
My IT department takes a dim view of my whispering that the laptop is doing it deliberately.
But I know it is.

I shall of course apologise to the laptop and see if it is in the mood to forgive me.

I am an analogue author in a scary, digital world.
I just want to write.

Normal service shall be resumed next month.

Tracy Darnton is the author of The Truth About Lies, shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2019. She has an MA in Writing for Young People. It is a minor miracle that she manages to publish this blog online.

You can follow Tracy on Twitter @TracyDarnton and on Instagram tracydarnton


Nick Garlick said...

I don't know whether I'd ever want to move back to a typewriter, but everything else in this post struck a deep, very sympathetic chord. I love reading maps! And as for books, notebooks and fountain pens. Oh yes!

Ann Turnbull said...

I'm an analogue writer too. Until now, I didn't know I was. I'd thought 'analogue' was one of those scary techie words that I wouldn't understand and hadn't got around to looking it up in the large dictionary that sits next to my printer. Despite much recent de-cluttering, I would never ever get rid of my portable typewriter.