The manuscript

Writing a book is a journey. It is a long journey leading thru many different creative stages and frustrations and it is a journey which definitely leaves a paper trail.

In the beginning there is nothing.  Quickly one page after another is growing in front of the writers eyes and put in sequential order into a convenient Word document. Suddenly all the originally white pages are populated with meaningful letters forming comprehensible words, begging for understanding.  

Let’s face it – we do absolutely everything with computers, our adopted best buddies and constant companions within the species of artificial intelligence. We store our manuscript in our individual folders, regardless of size length or complexity, where they stay invisible and dormant until we fire up the machine and access it. We love to overuse our tendons with our bubbling enthusiasm for typing. We develop tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome, we need glasses because we stare relentlessly for many hours into the computer screen and we develop back problems because we are just sitting there utterly fascinated by the wonders of technology, not realizing anymore how fast time is passing by.

As convenient as all of this is – let’s go back to the time when hand writing was still an art form and let’s take a look into the 18th or 19th century.  Every single word floating out of the big thinkers mind was indeed hand written and book manuscripts were produced in the weak ray of flickering candle light.  Hundreds or maybe even thousands of pages were produced manually. Hand writing was a craft. It was art.  Henry David Thoreau wrote the manuscript of Walden by H A N D. I am sure he did not use a convenient BIC ball pen either or even a modernized fountain pen. The only way to write was with a quill pen and ink set, next to flickering candle light.  

What a drag….. that’s all I can say looking at my 591 pages of manuscript I have produced  for “To Drink the Wild Air” with easy floating key strokes.

Thoreau is only one example. We don’t even have to travel back that far. Look at Einstein’s theory of relativity. Important thoughts, formulas, diagrams, text and scribble over a time period of 10 years, hand written into journals and loose sheets of paper, before his theory found official acceptance. Maybe he already had a mechanical typewriter in 1905 by the time the papers were submitted but I am sure he would have had a blast with a trendy Notebook and a 16 G flash drive on his side.  Hmmm – and he probably also would have been delighted by the fact that such a “machine” does  incorporate his groundbreaking theory and overthrowing thought entailing that relative to the observer both space and time are altered near speed of light. With a laptop he could have finished his studies in a short five years– I am sure.  

Time definitely has changed but there is no doubt that there is still one and the same ingredient needed to produce a manuscript- and this ingredient is called Inspiration .         

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8 Responses to The manuscript

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