I’ve spent a lot of the afternoon smushing forty-eight small files into one big one, and now my brain feels like crumpled wax paper. Each file is a chapter of my latest book. I work on the chapters separately until they’re all edited and ready for a final printout, then I combine them. During the transfer, spacing on pages with chapter heads gets messed up, and I always have to go through the thing several times to fix that. I am absolutely positive that people more computer-savvy than I could have merged them with a few flicks of the wrist or thumb or whatever, without any lost or added white space before or after chapters. But I am not computer savvy and it took me about a zillion flicks of all the above.
My first computer was a Kaypro. I got it in 1982, which, in computer years, was while the earth was still cooling. It had a gray screen about eight inches square, and the type came up white. The printer was a big daisy-wheel thing that took forever to spit out one page. My training consisted of a salesman coming to my house and plugging the thing in. After that, I was on my own. Since the only thing I wanted it for was to write manuscripts, that’s all I taught myself to do. Ergo, the present state of affairs.
Now I use a Mac, which does all kinds of wonderful things, but I still pretty much see computers as really clever typewriters. After every manuscript written on my advanced typewriter, I vow to go take a Mac class and learn all the marvelous things I could do with it if I only knew how. I’m like a one-finger hunt-and-peck typist vowing to take typing lessons. Like those typists, I have managed to make incompetence work, so I stick with it even though I know I’m doing it the hard way.
Oh well. At least I’ve outgrown the Kaypro.