…From Pen to iPad
By Doris H. Dancy
The Change in the Industry
I struggle to remember any time in my life when I was not involved with writing. From the time that I could draw, paint, paste, or write, my Mom had me in some kind of activity book. It was a time when bedtime stories were held in our parents’ hands, and we sat together on our bed hearing the words and sharing the drawings. Parents were the voices of the characters and the sound of the POW WHAM action. They were the life- blood of the book. That was a time when we heard pages turn, we saw dog-ear folds at the top, smudges on our favorite book, and small tears turn into rips over time. Scotch tape was the only saving grace for putting Humpty Dumpty back together again.
When we went to a library, the shelves were filled and there was no other source to find where the dreams were, where the adventures might lie, where the voices of the past could still be heard. We could smell the dust, feel the pages, be lured in by a cover we were told should not be the reason for acceptance or rejection. With pen or pencil in hand, and paper books at our side, we thumbed through this magic kingdom, traveled vicariously with words across the universe, and scribbled down our discoveries. Looking back now, I can say that this was the age of once upon a time.
So, what of today? How has the writing industry changed? The one that I remember is barely recognizable to anyone ten years old or younger. They no longer have to turn a page. With one finger, they simply swipe a screen and pictures change, actions zoom out in 3-D, colors scream for attention, sounds crash and bang in real time, characters move under the users command and they, unlike me, many times, sit alone, attended only by what they create on the screen.
They know words that were not in my vocabulary…upload, download, worldwide web, hashtag, email, google, wi-fi, tweet and twitter, post, ipad, mp3, and many other words that, when I was a child, would have been cause to roll on the floor in laughter at a parent who would have been simply entertaining with crazy sounds.
Presently, there is little patience to wait for creation…to ponder the written word…to look for just the right expression. The language is very different. No need to spell out BEFORE when all you need is a “b” and a “4” to communicate B4. Why write out a sentence to tell the reader that you laughed out loud when you can just type LOL? Why bother to say, “I’ll talk to you later” when all you need is “ttyl?” Writing today takes no time at all. “C u @ home” requires only one complete word, and that may alter B4 I finish this topic. Things today are automatic, and change is swift. Instantaneously, it comes crashing and banging into existence before our eyes.
Today, trees are saved because there is little use for paper to document print. With the right device, a total book can be at your fingertips with the click of one button. The download is quick, accurate, and cost effective. Magazines placed on a virtual newsstand wait for you to snap them on and read about any subject in the world. If you want an opinion, writing takes no longer than you can log on to twitter where the tweets are short and plentiful. No need to print encyclopedias and pay hundreds for the fancy bound books…just google whatever you want to know for free.
Yes, the writing industry has changed immensely, but the need for the knowledge it produces is still imperative, the search for it, still alluring, and the desire to devour it, still insatiable. We have moved from pen to iPad so it’s only the implements that have changed, but that makes all the difference.
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org