Apparently, WordPress just tweaked its format a teensy bit, because when I clicked on “New Post” just now, an array of buttons suddenly showed up. In the past, I’ve clicked on “New Post” and a blank box, the electronic version of the blank page, has popped up. This time, I got all these little buttons saying crazy things like “Text,” “Photo,” “Video,” “Quote,” and “Link.” Little blue icons accompanied them: a pushpin, a camera, etc. I had a bitty little freakout for a second there. Where the heck is my blank page, WordPress? How am I supposed to write if you won’t show me the page??
Then it occurred to me that maybe I should actually pay attention to the little button-thingies. Oh, okay–“text”? That seems writey. So I clicked that one. Ta-daaaa!!! There was my blank page. Whew! Crisis averted!
And I realized, I am a seriously wordy-nerdy kind of girl. I want my text. Stick some icons in front of me suggesting that I should tack on a photo or, heaven forbid, add a link, and my little dinosaur brain sees asteroids. “Aaaa!!! It’s the end of the world!!!”
I have a majorly uneasy relationship with my technology. It still bothers me that I rely on my car, but don’t really understand how it works. I use this computer every single day, sometimes for hours at a time, but if the darn thing broke there’s no way on earth I could fix it.
Words are different. Not that they’re not dangerous, even deadly. Words form stories, and stories shape us, and without them, what would we really be? We might exist, in the way that shoehorns and hamster wheels and the thin film of dust on my monitor exist, but we wouldn’t be alive.
One of my grad. school professors told our class that thought can’t exist without language. I’m still not sure if I agree, but I do wonder how much thought is worth if we can’t articulate it to ourselves, or to anyone else. So I am in love with words, and with stories.
It’s funny to have this kind of reminder, as I’m in the throes of NaNoWriMo, of just how essential words are–to me, at least. How much I depend on them. I realized at some point that I tend to believe everything anyone tells me because I love words. Because I have this weird writer obsession with the idea that there’s truth in everything. I trust words. Words are my friends. Even when they turn on me, as they seem to be doing on a daily basis now that I’m trying to draft a novel in a single month.
So, WordPress, you can offer me the sleek seduction of buttons and icons, and I will wade through them, feeling a little creeped out as they brush against my mind, until I find the blank page, that pure and terrifying and beautiful thing that will give me the space I need to practice the alchemy that is writing.
So, my questions are many. For starters, is anybody else out there a little leery of technology? Is anyone else foolishly and passionately in love with words that may turn out to be no good for them? Am I a dinosaur? And when everything has been published online and everybody’s got a little Kindle or Nook chip in their brains, is somebody going to invent a cologne that smells like “old books”?