Paper is at once both the cruelest invention a writer may have stumbled across and also her salvation.
The blank page invites, often demands the pen and is unjudging, yet the poet may change or delete but the paper retains the original and throws it back in his face.
The computer, many say, changed all of that, backspace or highlight and delete and that mistake, misuse, misadventure is gone forever, but with a wrong keystroke all you may have is a blank screen and your words so well shaped, thoughts perfectly expressed can be lost in the ether.
It isn’t my first Christmas although almost so, that part of me hidden for half a century, its twisted discovery filling a hole that I never knew existed, yet always knew.
This is the strangest Christmas, a time of gathering, now in isolation, only pixels and prayers on a too flat screen, and it is hard, in times of want and suffering, to recall why we celebrate this day.
A child was born, and now countless others will be, and it is only the children that recall his message, and truly understand peace.
Increasingly few can remember the time when making a home movie was an event unto itself, when you didn’t strap the camera to handlebars, helmet, dashboard or body, but you hand-carried the damn thing weighing a pound or two, you stuffed it with film which you sent off to the lab to have developed, hoping your story would appear in the returning envelope. You threaded the film onto the sprockets, turned on the motor and lamp and watched expectantly as images always a bit under-or over-exposed moved a bit jokingly across the screen. There was nothing to upload, you knew the image would fade over time, unless the projector grew cranky or jammed and you watched your memories quite literally melt on the screen, and the only numbers that mattered weren’t megapixels and gigabytes but millimeters, 8 for most, 16 for the wealthy.