Cherry Blossoms

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Cherry Blossoms, a.k.a., Sakura.

The above is our second and shy third cherry blossoms this spring–less one petal. The first blossom fell to the recent cold front that also sent blizzard Stella roaring into the northeast. The weather has warmed. Robins peck about in the yard. Along the fence, buttercups dip and rise with a warm breeze.  Overhead white clouds glide across a light, blue sky. Soon there will be hundreds of cherry blossoms.

The cherry blossom holds a great deal of symbolic significance in Japan. It signifies, among other things, impermanence–the transient nature of life.  Thinking along these lines the other evening, while drinking a glass of wine and watching clouds, I pondered the issue of instant technology as it relates to the lengthy process of writing. I felt quite philosophical at the time. It could have been the wine. Maybe it was the clouds

I’m over halfway done with my novel, but for the past two weeks, I’ve been stuck on a difficult scene. I keep deleting and rewriting. I know. I know. I’m supposed to get it down on paper. Well, screw all that. I couldn’t let this scene go without its being at least half-way right.

Essentially as I write my first draft, I do a good bit of rewriting and indeed, revision. For instance, let’s say I’ve just finished Chapter 15. I realize that Chapter 14 doesn’t ring true. I scroll back and in the most severe case, rewrite the whole chapter, or I might simply revise one or two passages. And then on to Chapter 16. Since this is a first draft, I find myself punching the DELETE key—a lot.

When I have a complete first draft, I print out the whole thing. Then, I edit—with a pencil. Once edited, I return to the computer and type in the marked-up manuscript. Once done I let it sit for a few weeks and allow it to simmer–then I print out the second draft and start over.

This back and forth process can go on for several months, or God forbid, years. The point is, I end up printing out numerous versions. How many copies—versions—do I print? Four, five, six, ten! They pile up like the very tower of Babble, reaching hopelessly to Heaven.

My question is this: With our computer circuitry that operates in nano-seconds, does it take looonger than before the hi-tech revolution to write three pages? Do we use a hundred times more paper?

How does the cherry blossom figure into all this? Beats me. It was pretty.

So, what are your thoughts? Is our belief that technology makes writing go faster an ironic illusion? Without our realizing it, does the computer slow us down?

31 thoughts on “Cherry Blossoms

    1. Paul Post author

      Love your response! And oh yes, definitely recycled!
      Once I’m done and send it off to a “real” editor. I’ll keep that one copy and send the rest to the bin!
      Thanks for reading! 🙂

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  1. laura bruno lilly

    I remember back in the day that one of the computer-centric pitches was that: it saves paper, saves trees; eliminates the need for paper filing systems/expensive postage of manuscripts, etc etc…
    Computer word files are great. Hard copy manuscripts are great. Why does it always have to be ‘either/or’ why not IN ADDITION TO?
    But…I love your process and the cherry blossom symbolism of ‘impermanence’ – seems relevant in today’s times.
    Actually, it kind of got me itching to dig into a series of vignettes I need to finish editing…
    🙂

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    1. Paul Post author

      I agree. I would be the total hypocrite if I said I didn’t love the ease that tech provides us when it comes to writing, so yeah, the best thing is to merge them into some sort of meaningful system. If possible! 🙂

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  2. Cynthia Guenther Richardson

    I have had that thought before–that is may take longer! Like you, when working on a novel over years, I had piles of copies of revisions and it drove me mad. (I still have some file drawers stuffed with all that…and need to throw it all out and begin again. Perhaps; it may be dead now.) I eventually more often edited on the computer page. Then finally, when feeling more “done for now”–an entire printed copy. It became once more problematic… as it was revised several more times. I yet tend to scribble a bit on real paper while also working on computer so it is a combination. I try to recycle all paper! But I keep lots of notebooks for additional ideas. (For WP I mostly write entirely in Word, then copy and paste.)
    I love the cherry blossoms! We have flowers starting to show off again, as well. I like the impermanence, yes, and also the mysteriousness and reliability of the renewal of nature’s offerings—hopefully. I wrote of that today, myself, in another way.

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    1. Paul Post author

      We’re still waiting for the cherry trees to bloom. A few buds have burst open but not yet bloomed out. Hard to be patient. I was so happy the freeze didn’t catch the blooms. It did zap the azaleas…what a disappointment that was. I

      Thanks for commenting. Now, I’m gonna look for your post. :-).

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. Paul Post author

      Oh, I totally agree. Being retired gives me the freedom to sit on the back patio and stretch out and do absolutely nothing. I love it. 🙂

      Thank you so much. It’s always good to hear from you! 🙂

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  3. Tink the Belle

    I have horrible handwriting, so electronic work beautifully for me. When it comes to reading I prefer paperback . I feel my mind can wonder here and there while reading, not the same reading electronically. I don’t seem to be able to focus for too Long.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Paul Post author

      The same here! My handwriting starts off pretty good but degenerates fairly quickly into something indecipherable. I can edit with a pencil but I almost always compose on the keyboard.

      Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. jrose88

    Six of one, half a dozen of the other. I always keep a notebook in my purse but I’m bad at using it. Instead I end up using google docs via my phone, because I can also get to those on either my laptop or my work computer. I’m not sure that it necessarily helps me write faster, but it does get me writing more often when I’m on the go.

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  5. elementhealing

    I don’t think the level of technlogy changes anything really. all the initial work happens in our head. How we get it out and edit really doesn’t change that part of the process. Both varieties, pen / paper and microchips on circuit boards are not permanent. Slipping in the Cherry Blossom here! In the long run paper will last longer than the computer. It can last thousands of years if stored well. A fried mother board means everything is gone forever. I think I’ve slipped off track. The question, I believe, was which if any is faster. I suppose it depends on how often we get distracted and how we feel about technology.

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  6. Moushmi Radhanpara

    Hi Paul, a very intriguing thought here. A few days ago this kept me wondering too if computers and the typing process is better than simply writing it don on sheets of paper. I simply don’t know the answer as the tying process makes everything easier but the writing down just makes one feel happy; at least me. Coincidentally I did a post on ‘Writing or typing’ when I was too much occupied with these thoughts and yet don’t know what is exactly better!!

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    1. Paul Post author

      I think you’re right…it’s impossible to say one is better than the other. When the mood hits, I write with a pencil and it’s so enjoyable, so relaxing. BUT, when I really get going I usually am banging away on the ol keyboard. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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  7. Rachel McKee

    Great post Paul. We have a cherry blossom tree right outside our bedroom window. I love spring and all of the wonderful colors. Nature stretches her arms and rubs the frost from her eyes. It’s just beautiful. 🌸

    Liked by 3 people

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  8. Karina Pinella

    I think the computer allows us to make revisions a lot easier. Think how discouraging it would feel if you had a typewriter and were to type and deal with typos having to be manually corrected. That would slow you down even more. Perhaps you might consider setting aside the chapter you don’t quite like and go on and then go back to the disliked chapter after you feel you’ve made more headway with your book. The cherry blossom makes for a fine break from the frustration you’ve felt. Nice to switch tracks now and then to catch your breath.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Paul Post author

      How right you are! I do remember as a college student typing my papers on a trusty electric typewriter. If I made a mistake in the last two lines…such as leave out a word…then I had to re-type the whole page. What a pain! I remind myself how fortunate we are with our tech when it comes to the mundane world of “typing.”

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  9. Deb

    I think you have quite a question blossoming here…see what I did? I don’t know, it’s certainly quicker to correct and rewrite but since it is, do we do it more because we can and then because we can and it is quicker so we do it a lot did we just make the process longer? Wow great question Paul!! I love that you’re halfway done with your novel. I also love what the cherry blossom represents, such a true statement. Yeah we’re still waiting on Spring here however we’re about to hop right into summer next week, 81 on Tuesday! I say bring it on…I want to sit outside, drink wine, watch the clouds and look at cherry blossoms too! Wishing you luck with that Chapter, you’ll figure out what’s best. Stop and quiet your mind, let all thoughts go for about 15 minutes and then give it some thought. Happy Spring!! 🙂

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    1. Paul Post author

      Deb, your advice was absolutely perfect. I did sit and meditate…for ten minutes though…:-) I try to do ten minutes twice a day. And it worked. I got the chapter done…very happy with it and I’m off and running with the next…whew!

      Yeah, spring has sprung here, BUT tonight is a possible freeze…OMG! can you believe it. Now I gotta bring in all my container flowers…oh well, that’s the life of a rural/suburban gardener/writer.
      Thank you so much for a great reply and I’m pecking away on my keyboard…I think…maybe…it saves time…it’s a crap shoot.
      Have a great day! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. Deb

        Oh Paul, what exciting news!! That’s fantastic I’m so happy for you. One more chapter behind you. UGH on the freeze…this time of year is so up and down you never know what to expect. Hope it’s the last time for any freezes til next winter! Oh it was my pleasure, I love reading your posts, I was thrilled to see you had posted a new one. Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Peck away oh and speaking of pecks give one to Cody for me. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  10. sepultura13

    I enjoy using my antique typewriter for some writing projects; I also keep a notebook or three handy to jot down ideas, and I use my computer. I have no preference for what medium I use to create my worlds!

    Speaking of cherry blossoms, the ones at the University of Washington in Seattle bloomed late, since it’s been so rainy this time of year. I missed out on taking a picture of a few that bloomed near my house – they looked beautiful on the one day that the sun came out for a couple of hours, LOL
    😎

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  11. escapecapades

    I think it’s true that the computer makes us write more slowly. Although, I haven’t really figured out why.
    Those Sakura trees are magical! Makes me want to write poetry. 🙂
    Good luck with your novel!

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. JoHanna Massey

    I always start out on paper, pencil, and butt in the chair. At the keyboard, the least bit of frustration or doubt has me deleting myself back to a blank page, whereas with the paper I often end up salvaging a line or so of the scribbled and lined through. I use so much paper in my life. I also plant a lot of trees, but the paper issue always a guilty one. Great essay. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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