I have finally got to the stage of getting all my poems out of various locked PDFs online and into simple text files. For various reasons it has taken a very long time. It is fascinating to see how many typos and misprints, inconsistencies and other glaring mistakes creep in over the years. Time is a great objective editor.
Being an early adopter I had used elementary scanners, Postcript and PDF technology, back in the late 80s and early 90s to archive some texts. In order to ‘get at’ the various scripts I had to OCR (Optical Character Recognition) them today and that, as anyone who has ever tried it, is a complete pain in the behind because no matter how good the machine, it often reads every ‘Y’ as a ‘V’ or ‘.’ as a ‘’,’ or vice versa etc etc. So a fair bit of basic proofing was needed before putting them through any other sieves of reflection as I like to call it.
Then there are the poems that have not weathered well – but then I knew it at the time but time compounds the crime. I threw out two books worth of poems over the decades – one in a fit of pique and one because I became fatigued by the number of other people’s poetry I was reading and it made me word blind for years afterwards. I am still suffering the consequences.
The next challenge is definitely the Typesetting – I’m still learning!
In the meantime I’m enjoying researching my next project and am using several technologies to pull in info from the web and ‘real life’ books. I delight in doing this on the fly using a phone, ipad or my desktop Mac.
The programs I use to do this are notably: nvALT, Obsidian, 1Writer, Scrivener as well as Typora for quick access to various data. I link and archive everything through Dropbox and locally on all devices. I use MD (Markdown) files which are the most fluent way of exchanging text between devices and the web. I am still an unabashed tecchie after 4 decades of doing this stuff.
But when it comes to eventually letting all this swill inside my head I will be using a good old-fashioned pen and basic exercise books to write, rewrite and endlessly amend the new ‘attempts’ at poems. The wonderful thing about getting older is I don’t care a damn about how this might be received; for me, at my age now, it’s the process that matters – the journey, and all the serendipity that that entails. I may never get these projects finished but, that too, is fine.
Don’t get me wrong – I care how it looks – how the language ‘works’ but I’m not (nor ever have been) into the flea circus around poetry publishing. I have my allotment to keep me grounded and as a refuge from any of that nonsense.