How often do you have to use that Backspace or Delete key?
The question seems to warrant an obvious answer: when you see something wrong – misspelled words, misused punctuation, or when the green/red lines appear underneath the type words. These are all explicit signals that tell you: go back.
And yes, we actively “listen” to what our eyes pick. It’s a constant exercise, that the thought of doing otherwise sounds improbable.
Of course, it’s not.
Losing internal battles
The Delete key is the symbol of one’s triumph and loss. Upon hours of writing and wielding words, the necessity to give it a check renders us afraid and unwilling. It’s not easy to create something – only to be swept by our own hard-bristled broom.
I have had these moments. Sometimes, it feels real to let my written pieces ran adrift with those errors. It embodies me, an imperfect mortal. Unlike Plato’s mimesis, I chose to let the flaws co-exist with the rest of the elements in my written work.
Perhaps, to some of you, I appear to be someone looking for dainty excuses. Whilst every other wordsmith aspires to wrought perfection into their pieces, I resorted to impale mine with flaws. And the unsurprising thing about my case is that… I succeeded in denying my denial.
A long silence
Now, I see why I can’t seem to conduct a proper critique of my own piece. It became clear why I couldn’t pull myself together and use the waiting Del key. In fact, if it were breathing and alive, it must have shouted at my face a gazillion times!
However, time has been my ally. The years spent in writing and in secretly self-doubting brought me in an ideal position. It gave me the guts I thought I had never had (as I failed to use it against this denial). It had soften the blow and made the discovery less painful.
Ironically, the denial that gnawed at my courage to push the dreaded Del key was replaced by acceptance. It wasn’t an automatic process, nor did it have to take long. Maybe, because I believed it’s time to let go.
Ask me again
How often do I use that Backspace or Delete key?
My eyes went to gaze at my long-time friend, the keyboard. I have grown so used to it, its slick feel against my momentary fingers. I knew the familiar sound of speed and uncertainty. I could even recognize its sound of calm.
I saw the Del key. It isn’t alone. While I may have to hit it again and again, the anxiety doesn’t have to eat me whole again. The proofreading and editing part of the writing game doesn’t have to torture the writer.
Every time the Del key is pressed, a chance is born. I am given the choice to correct myself. An opportunity to find a better and probably, more beautiful way of arranging words will unfold. In every death comes a rebirth.
The Backspace or Delete keys. These keys will not only remind me of second-chances. It must also call forth the necessity of its nature.
When I click them, a letter, word, statement or whole paragraph ceases to exist. Nil. I need to see that writing and creating doesn’t only imply an output. Part and parcel of such compositions are the white spaces.
Some things need not be written and read. Maybe these things, ideas, or metaphysical concepts need not be shared via the written word. Perhaps, they are best said.
This is what the Del key taught me. How about you? Did it taught you the same lesson?