How Computers Gave John Updike New Flava


OK, we know you’re probably tired about hearing about John Updike. So were we. But then we stumbled across this paragraph in the latest issue of the New Yorker in a piece from his longtime editor Roger Angell:

“…Updike was probably the very first New Yorker writer to shift over to a computer, back in the early eighties. ‘I don’t know how this will change my writing,” he wrote to me in advance, ‘but it will.’ He was right, of course: the flavor was mysteriously different, the same wine but of a different year.”

Does anyone else find this absolutely fascinating? Or we guess, more importantly, has anyone noticed the same shift in their own writing when it’s done in longhand vs. typed on a keyboard?

For the current generation of writers — many who might have produced creative work exclusively via computer, do you think it could be worth swapping out methods for a bit, just to see what kind of vintage it produces? We can vaguely remember a friend once telling us that she could only write fiction by hand, and research has suggested that the movements use different parts of your brain.

We bet Stephanie Meyers types. We know Anne Tyler does. Neil Gaiman does his first drafts in longhand, and Stephen King wrote Dreamcatcher using a a Waterman cartridge fountain pen. Interesting.