Photo from Ebay
I bought a new Samsung tablet yesterday, a Galaxy Tab E with a 9.6″ display. This purchase was made at Walmart only after three false starts from Amazon – receiving two refurbished iPads and a Nexus 7 when I thought they were shipping me new stuff. Why purchase a tablet for writing? My fingers are damaged from years on keyboards. The realization that a physical keyboard was no longer an option came after I accepted the 2014 NANOWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge. I succeeded with 50,252 words in 28 days. But doing so injured the middle finger, left hand. And since then I’ve been unable to locate a suitable keyboard.
I been writing for many years. Maybe my two million words are behind me. I’ve lost count. I began with a Sears portable as a hobby in 1964, submitting manuscripts to the scores of backroom publishers that existed during the pre-Internet days. Many were as desperate for manuscripts as I was to find a place to park my scribbles. Rewards were sometimes a penny or even a nickel per word, but most often payment came in the form of a single copy of the issue (they were hobbyist as well). Some authors sharing those pages told very bazaar tales – the story that often comes to mind is of the concession worker at Yellowstone who pissed in the dishwasher at work That still gives me pause.
Everyone knows there is no delete key on a Sears manual. When I was writing a tale for Overdrive Magazine, I retyped the entire manuscript ten times before I gave up and mailed it off, typos and all.
In 1982 I spotted my first personal computer, a TI-99. The instructions suggested using a television as a monitor. That might have worked if the data cable had been longer. Being so close, the sync pulses triggering the raster blanked the data from the computer. The net result was zero output. I possessed the skills for fabricating a shielded data cable of some greater length, and I would have done that had I not wondered what other surprises lurked therein. I returned to the store and traded my ‘99 for partial payment of a Commodore 64. However, there is no pie in the sky, it seems. While waiting for my transaction to clear, a lady complained to the clerk that her C-64 only made an “H” no matter what key she pressed. Casting an eye toward my new toy I wondered, if this was the second chapter of an ongoing adventure.