Friday, January 20, 2012

Writing Technology

I was reading my homework for the English class I am taking and I came across a whole section on fonts and font sizes when considering design. This got me thinking about my grandfather and how technology has impacted and changed writing.

When I was at the tail end of my childhood and the beginning of my teens my mother decided to write a book, not just any book, a book about my grandfather. My grandfather spent hours narrating his life story onto reel-to-reel for my mother to use as a resource when writing a novel about his boyhood. The book she finally self-published in 2010, Barefoot Through the Stubble, is the historically accurate account of my grandfather's years growing up on the Canadian Prairie in Saskatchewan in the early 1900's.

Growing up I was lucky enough to live one mile away from my Grandparents and so I developed a close relationship with them which, when we moved to the Yukon in 1991, took the form of written letters. My grandmother was usually the one to write and I can still see her distinctive long loopy script in my mind, but my grandfather, ever one for using technology sent type written ones.

In the late '90's my grandfather began the computer age. Someone gave him an older computer for writing and he spent many hours learning how to use it and problem solving small glitches. A person who loved gadgets and fiddling with things to make them better I think it really enriched his life and I know it enriched mine as it enabled me to receiving type written letters from him way past the time I would have had he continued to use the conventional typewriter due to his deteriorating eyesight. One of the advantages which made this possible was the ability to change the font size on the screen. A feature, I'm sure all of us who will be growing old in the age of email (or whatever comes next), our families, friends and grandchildren, will all enjoy as we continue to shorten distances and continue to make and maintain connections through writing.