"How many hours do you spend at your computer?" said my eye doctor, Dr. Richlin. When I answered a minimum of ten per day during the week and at least six at weekends," he practically fell off his chair.
I'd gone to see him concerned with this weird sensation I have in my right eye. It seems daft to say this but for those of us who have both eyes (my dad only had one) we're not usually "conscious" of our eyes sitting in our head. For the past few weeks I've been really aware of my right eye. I've also been getting horrible headaches. Turns out it is severe eye strain.
I didn't have to wear glasses until I turned 45. But as a writer, I suspect eye strain goes with the territory. I suppose I could write longhand, but I enjoy the speed of the computer; the ability to cut and paste and mess around with all different versions of the same draft. My mistakes and typos vanish with the click of the delete button.
Like many people born in the middle of the last century (gasp) I l grew up using a typewriter—or tripewriter as we liked to call it at my first reporter job at the Tiverton Gazette in Devon. My typewriter was an old 1945 Remington Deluxe. In those days articles were typed up on small rectangular pieces of paper separated by carbon paper. Four pieces of carbon paper actually so any typo was a pain to correct.
Although I enjoy the speed and efficiency of using my computer, I miss the noise of busy typewriter keys and the satisfying ding as the carriage reaches it's end-stop only to fly back in the opposite direction for the next sentence. Most of all, I loved the feeling of satisfaction when a piece was finished and I could pull it from the roller with a flourish.