Remember when we only had perforated-edged paper for printers? I do. The sound that thing made as it etched line-by-line the often light and amateruish print was something, wasn’t it? As slow as it was, there was something comforting about the time it took to print; it allowed you to marinate in the content.
I blog. I Twitter. I Facebook. I email. I read. I even write manuscripts, digitally. From my fingers to your eyes, cutting out the machine of print. Drafting and soundboaring gained, but the lingering of it all was lost. In my day-to-day browsing of information, a lot is messaged about reading becoming a nostalgic school of thought. I’m more worried about the perforated edges of my own writing and once the holes in it leave, how much of my own world will forget to marinate in what it all means.
In Misery (Stephen King), the main character, who happens to be a famous writer named Paul Sheldon, has his rituals upon completion of a novel. Beside him as he writes on his Royal typewriter (I have the same one, nostaglic me) is a stack of papers with indented print covering the pages With the last punch of the key, he rips the paper from the cylinder and stacks it in completion. Success deserves reward, after all writing a book is even more difficult than getting rid of the muffin top – nearly impossible for most. For Paul Sheldon, it’s not just the Dom Perignon and cigarette. No, it’s about the ritual of it all – a glass of champagne for the celebration and the match to light the cigarette as a treat (much like a cigarette after sex) for all the hard work. Since he quit smoking, it also serves as his guilty pleasure – a celebration in itself. Without ruining the story for those of you that didn’t read it or see the movie, go do so now so that you know how important this ritual ended up being in the outcome….especially the smallest of it all – the match. The point is that all of the above elements of success symbolize much more than a completed manuscript to placed into a ratty leather bag, – which also holds equal sentiment.
It’s this very aesthetic of the writer that is art. The aesthetic – the essence of the work – is the sauce with which the content marinates.
I may upgrade printers, but I’ll always hold on to the perforated edges of my writing.