This was my grandfather's mode of composition.

This was my grandfather’s mode of composition.

I ran across a writing exercise I did in a writing group sometime in the early 1990’s. One of the questions asked about my preference for a writing place. Here’s what I wrote those decades ago:

“I like to write in a quiet, comfortable place holding my work on a tablet or in a notebook. The sofa in the living room is fine because I can prop my feet on the coffee table in a semi-reclined position, using my knees as a desk-top.”

Whoa! What a different meaning desk-top had then compared to now! And sitting on the sofa, writing on a notebook with a pen? I haven’t composed that way in 20 years. In fact, I could never duplicate the penmanship-award-winning calligraphy that characterized my graceful handwriting style in college years, simply because those pen-gripping muscles of writing control have atrophied from non-use.

I still write, certainly, but for probably 20 years now, my preferred tool for invention and composition has been the computer keyboard. I sit before a monitor, at a desk. Maybe some would argue that it’s not really writing, but it’s certainly composing!

Composition without writing?

Composition without writing?

I still use a pen and paper for the grocery list or for doodling on an agenda handout during a boring meeting, but if what I’m writing counts, I have to commit it to the screen so I can really “see” what I said.