I'm not a grumpy old lady.

I just look and act like one.

No, seriously folks, I keep up with the times.

I own four computers and a smartphone.

Generally, I know how to work them.

I've written 38 books on a computer.

I've even written chapters on a phone.

In other words, my digital credentials are excellent and I spend way too much money on adult toys.

Not that kind of adult toy.

By the way, I also own a Kindle, a Nook, and an iPad, for e-books.

I like e-books, but I prefer regular books.

Why? Because I want bookstores to exist.

If you agree, buy a book today.

You don't even have to make it one of mine. But thank you, if you do. You have great judgment in literature.

Anyway, that's not the point of this column, but it's close, because bottom line, I miss paper.

I found this out because I'm planning a trip to Italy, for research.

I know that sounds like a boondoggle, but it's truly not.  I'm about to write my first work of historical fiction, and it's going to take place in Rome, so I have to go there.

And eat a lot of pasta.

Tax-deductible pasta.

Also if you deduct it, it doesn't have any calories.

But I digress.

I did a lot of planning for the trip online, but I kept wanting to map out the places in Rome I had to visit, and to do that, I needed something I did not have.

A map.

Not an online map, mind you. An actual, honest-to-God map that you can unfold and never fold back up again because it's impossible.

A smarter person could use a map on a smartphone, but not me.  I tried to use the ones online and I printed them out in sections, so I could have them.  But it took forever, making the picture on the screen bigger and smaller, then moving it to the left and the right, then trying to figure out how to print the exact location I wanted, and then, of course, my printer ran out of ink and I ran out of paper.

Which is part of the problem. Since I never print anything, I never have enough paper. And I think the ink dries up if you don't use it enough, no matter what anyone says.

It stands to reason.

I know from personal experience.

If you follow.


Or maybe the ink evaporates.

Or it's invisible ink.

Anyway, I took these things as messages from God. Telling me to go buy a map.

In a related story, the same thing happened with my calendar.

I know I have a calendar in my computer and my phone.

And I add things to it, like tour dates and hair appointments, which are the only times I leave the house.

But I don't find the computer calendar so easy to work with.

It's an iCalendar, and iGiveUp.

When I enter an event and a time, I never do it in the right order, so it's not readable before it cuts off, so I know I have a hair appointment but I don't know what time, or I know I have to be somewhere at three o'clock, but I don't know where or why.

Impressed yet?

So I was planning this important trip to Rome, during which I was going to visit all sorts of historical sites and learn all sorts of important facts, but I didn't have enough room to put the entry in the online calendar.  And even after I tried to enter the information, I couldn't read it because it kept cutting off.  I still couldn't understand it very well, much less know where I needed to be day-to-day, and I realized exactly what was missing.


Just like with the maps, I want an actual, honest-to-God calendar, so I could write things on it, like where I needed to be, using an actual pencil.

I used to have a Filofax in the good old days.

You could turn the page and see where you had to be the next day, no problem.

I even had a Week-at-a-Glance calendar.

Is that the most perfect name or what?

It was so easy to glance back then!

But somebody decided we needed more progress. And glancing wasn't fast enough.

Which is totally wrong.

Glancing is faster than touching.

I glance faster than you can imagine.

If I meet you, and you're a guy, I'm glancing at your ring finger before I even see your face.

I glance at rings like men glance at breasts.

And if I see a ring-at-glance, I'm not touching.

But glancing was too easy, and too cheap.

So now we have entering, scrolling, touching, stroking, and double-tapping.

No wonder we love our phones.

We're touching them all the time.

But I miss the feel of paper.

So I'm going out to buy a calendar.

And a map.

And paper.

And ink.

Before I dry up.

I mean, it dries up.

Look for Lisa and Francesca's new humor collection, "I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses," and Lisa's number-one best-selling domestic thriller, "After Anna," and her new Rosato & DiNunzio novel, "Feared," in stores now. lisa@scottoline.com.