Not the war, though, the printer will win that one. More accurately, the company that makes the printer wins the war.
I’m very proud of myself for the progress I’ve made over the last ten years, getting used to the computer and technology. Honestly, I never thought I’d be able to “think” straight onto a keyboard. I wrote longhand for years, only typing once I had my work exactly as I wanted it. Even once I began writing with the computer, I did a lot of printing. Every time I wanted to proofread, revise, edit, or just generally obsess over my suckage, I had to print the pages and hold them in my hands. I feel so terribly, horribly guilty when I think of how much paper I wasted for a few years, even with recycling old pages.
Lots of progress for Mrs Fringe. But there are still a couple of points in editing and revising where I need to hold the hardcopy in my hands and use a pencil to make notes. This is one of those points. Today I needed two copies of the WIP; one for my greasy mitts and red pen, and one for Husband, so I can keep an eye out to make note of the points where he falls asleep. I have a workhorse of a basic laser printer, cutting edge when I got it 9 years ago. Sure, it’s a little “touchy,” and God help you if you don’t fan the papers just so before loading, but it still works. Sadly, this is the end of the road. The last time I needed “ink” I was told the printer was discontinued, and there were no more cartridges available. I begged the guy to search his storeroom, and he found one. I was thrilled, until I heard the cost. It literally cost me the same for that toner as it would cost for a new printer.
Why and how have printers become disposable? Once this cartridge runs out of toner, the cost to find and purchase a replacement will be well over the cost of a new, equivalent printer. It feels wrong to me, this must be on the list of venial sins.
Obviously, now, I’m trying to nurse this cartridge along, and make it last as long as possible. I printed one copy of the manuscript, and brought it to the copy place to have the second copy made. Remember, this is the first draft. I tend to write “short” so the end product will likely be an additional 5-10,000 words from where the word count sits now. I haven’t brought anything in to be copied for me in a few years. Holy cannoli, prices have risen! $38. for one complete copy.
As I was printing here at home and listening to the click and stutter of rollers inside the machine, I experienced a strong sense memory of standing in the office of my elementary school, waiting for mimeo copies to bring to the teacher. Anyone else remember them? The copies always had a smell like Elmer’s glue and the ink was barely deeper than lavender. Not cutting edge at the time, but the machine still worked, so it was used. I think I’m going to look for a mimeograph on eBay.