What I Can’t Write Without

Famous last words: Time to print!!!

Finished, right? Maybe, but I ought to run the spellchecker, just in case.

Tools>Spelling and Grammar…

IGNORE. IGNORE. ACCEPT. IGNORE, darn it! IGNORE. This is art. I need that one long twenty-line sentence with no commas. It’s not a run-on sentence; it’s my creative signature!

Finally: Nirvana, all is right with the world, yes, this is it, this is exactly what I wanted to say—there is not one single thing I can do to improve this.

Time to print!


And the printer rouses with a groan, coughing and wheezing, making anxious little paper-crumply noises. Ink cartridges flexing back and forth: Batter’s on deck.

(This printer knows what it’s in for. This printer is no dummy.)

Out they come, page after page of gorgeous black-on-white perfection—my best ever!  I snatch them off the tray, take a victory lap around the house, and plunk them in the center of the kitchen table. Ha!

Light the gas under the kettle, teabag in the cup, a dash of sugar and 2% milk. Whistling, I settle my mug at the table to gloat over my masterpiece.

Darn. Where’d I put the pen?

Okay just a little tweak here. And there. Oh, and there, that’s much funnier—done.

Back to the office, type in the changes. Voila! Time to print!!!!


Printer: Back so soon?

Me: Mind your own business. 

Printer: This is my business. I ran out of ink last time we went through this. You don’t want me to run out again, do you?

Me: What are you talking about? I just changed your cartridges, you’re fine! You’re good for like five hundred pages. It’s only a ten-page chapter this time.

The printer sighs.


One page pops out, and I check it while the others are printing. Oh shoot. I guess I really should have put a few commas in this twenty-line sentence. There! Time to—

Printer: What the f***?

Me: What?!

Printer: I’m not even finished with the one you just asked for!

Me: I know I know. One more time.

Printer: No.

Me: Please. I’ll do anything. I’ll give you a nozzle cleaning.

Printer: Susan. You have a sickness. Last week you went through seventy-seven printings in one afternoon. There were so many discarded pages your recycling bin overflowed. You left the rest piled on the floor so high you couldn’t get the office door open. Your wheelie chair wouldn’t roll anywhere, the dog got lost underneath everything, it was awful. I tried like crazy to get myself to jam, just to slow you down, but—

Me: I know, you’re a really reliable printer. I love you.

Printer: Don’t say that. That’s inappropriate. Oh my gosh.

Me: What?

Printer: My power cord is so warm….

Me: I’m sorry, I just, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I know we’re in the digital world and we have to think of the trees. I guess I need to see my writing on the page to spot my flaws in all their nakedness….

The printer starts to sputter.

Me: Printer, why are you sputtering?  Hey! Stop shooting all these blank pages into my lap—you’re upsetting me!


Me: NO!!!!!!!! I CAN’T WRITE WITHOUT YOU!!!!!!!


© 2013 Susan Morse

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