Last night I finished typing my old poems from twenty and twenty-five years ago into my computer. I had a computer when I wrote those poems and used it to print them, but where are those files now? Lost through accident because of poor or nonexistant backup practices, deleted by mistake and never noticed, or perhaps sitting on a floppy disk in an obsolete document format at the bottom of a landfill in Grand Falls or Andong. But on my bookshelf I still have all the poems I’ve written since university. Perfectly readable on odinary printer paper that hasn’t yellowed or crumbled.
I make backups of my documents and photographs these days. I’m careful about it, but accidents do happen and sometimes I’m careless. That’s why I make 8×10 prints of my best photographs every month and put them in archival folders. They will outlive me, never become obsolete and unviewable by human eyes, and I can’t accidentally delete or forget to include them in a backup.
Print, print, print.