I am (mostly) a computer writer.
This feels funnily antithetical to my letter-writing, record-listening, paperback-reading self.
(Mostly, I said. There is, to be sure, a bounty of messily (disastrously) kept journals. Drawer-fulls! And these are toppling with misplaced lines, sensations, part-stories. An occasional list of words, or hybrid words, a cringe-worthy sketch of dumbly profound things like my shoes and blades of grass. Profound only in their ambiguity -- I am a terrible artist.)
But, being conscious of these notebooks, of my pen-pal-ness, the records, film photos, books in print-- the mounting evidence of my elderly soul -- most confidants of my writing trade find my laptop-slinging side of self...surprising.
Really? -- is what they say.
And I reply,
Because I can't write fast enough.
And I can't.
I am, simply, too capricious for paper. A harefooted spirit! A wild, rampant editor. I, slave to transposing, to culling, to shimmying atoms of stories around, up and down -- all the Wonka elevator ways -- a very feelings-driven sort of writer who can't plot stuff out and fill it it...I, prone more in my writing compulsions to verbs like digging, and tunneling, tossing, to wrestling, rustling, rolling, to swimming...
(Up from the deep, dark matter of me, and back down into the sea of it.)
Omnidirectional is a word I've been called. Sending and receiving in all directions.
The particular organs I most employ -- the heart, the head -- move lightyears swifter than the rest. In these moments, I feel rather unattached from myself. Which is a funny paradox to feel when you are shuffling about in the attic of your own memory. Hovering over my own corporeal matter, seeing it flounder by comparison: see the jaw draws slacken, the feet still, the fingers can't keep up.
And so, I've developed unruly affection for my laptop over the years. This svelte metal box. You, my veritable silver steed. It doesn't feel excessive (or misplaced) in the least for me to say: it is another body that carries my heart and all my heart-stuff.
Gaze, for example, upon its current offerings -- eight separate essays in draft-mode, a dozen research tabs -- entropy, and saxifrage, my own grandmother, Degas, California railroads -- open at once.
But, most telling of the documents you'll find, are two:
First, An antiquated photo of a small girl -- black and white -- on an old cruise liner. A girl who isn't me -- but feels like me. I can't get away from the uncanniness of knowing something is not possibly you, and yet, impossibly, is.
And, one of Sylvia at her typewriter. There she is, in her black and white backyard, a self-conscious smile. A woman, a girl, inevitably both -- with another body that carries her heart, and, somehow, impossibly, all her heart-stuff.