Monday, December 30, 2013

"A Printer"

            The other night, my husband and son left our house on a mysterious “mission” and returned home with an early birthday gift for me—a printer! They purchased a smart little Brother HL-2200. A very basic Monochrome Laser that spits out pages almost faster than I can type. Already, I love this little device.
            Over the years, I’ve relied upon my husband’s fancy Cannon, a machine that sucks ink like a gas-guzzler. This past year, this temperamental copier has taken to whirring and complaining, and then refusing to take up paper. It’s all showmanship.
            And so I drifted into the zone of a writer without hard copies. I slipped into an uncomfortable world where the printed page doesn’t exist; where I fanatically email my drafts to myself out of fear of hard drive crashes or other computer catastrophes.
            With my Brother installed and handily by my side, I’ve spent the last few days organizing and printing. The shelf I’ve dedicated in my closet for hard copies now contains a two-inch binder for drafts of my blog and drafts of poetry dating back to 1973! Next to it rests a bright yellow notebook that houses the final draft of my first novel. I’ve only had a working draft, covered with my personal editing and revising notes, perched in the closet. I can’t believe how good it feels to have a pristine final draft!
            My current creation benefits from this little printer, too. Currently, I’ve color coded various characters and scrawled ideas and details onto notecards. Anyone knowing my handwriting understands immediately the frustration I feel as I curse at my cursive. With this printer, I can quickly type up and print notes for each created person, making it much easier for me to double check facts and details as I weave my story. And research now becomes a breeze. That Victorian Queen Anne one character calls home?  A Google search to three or four sites and quick copy and paste and PRINT! I have definitions for witch’s caps and strap work at my fingertips.
            I know many people persistently preach, “Print is dead!” But not in my house. Not anymore!

Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman