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Triple Digit Reading Club

Once a year I usually have a chance to visit an RV friend who amuses me by writing first drafts of blog posts with pen and paper. (The reader might have an elderly aunt who still sends handwritten letters because they are more "personal".) Recall that it used to be more common to say that pen and paper help you think, whereas the computer supposedly distracts the writer. It seems quaint to see him look at his notes on paper and then start expostulating on his still-unpolished ideas.

I have the opposite reaction to pen and paper: I can type much faster than I can write. Like most people, my penmanship reached its peak in grade school. Typing provides almost instant editing, which actually makes it easier to think. It's analogous to mechanics (physics), where the coefficient of dynamic friction is less than that of static friction.

And yet, lately I've come to admire my friend's atavistic writing technique. In fact I have experimented at adopting it; not for aesthetic or intellectual reasons, but for the waves of revulsion I feel when even thinking about turning on the laptop. Pentium-based laptops from 2004 put out the heat of an electric griddle. Sigh, when is this damn thing ever going to break!? In contrast, the peak power of Intel's new Atom microprocessors is only 5-6 Watts typically, and ARM chips (in tablets only, so far) use even less.

Perhaps summer heat is a blessing in disguise. It takes little willpower to stay off the internet if you think it's become a bad habit. Of course, writing isn't the only thing affected by heat revulsion: you need to go back to reading good old-fashioned books. Marvelous invention, they. No batteries and no power consumption.

Yes I have criticized the publishing industry many times on this blog, and I meant it. Books are too long. And yet, I found it easier to pick up a famously prolix book, Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, rather than to read short articles on the internet. Lack of conciseness seemed like a secondary flaw compared to frying my wrists. And why must I read fast; it is too hot to do anything fast.

My present campsite has some nice, trimmed juniper trees. Sitting outdoors in that wonderful shade, with my feet in a bucket of water, and enjoying the afternoon breeze seems like such a good idea. But I've never been able to read outdoors. Those who can are fortunate indeed.


Ed said…
I continue to write my daily web postings in a notebook then transcribe to Open Office Word where I spellcheck then cut and paste to my web site.

The handwritten part is a carryover habit from the days when I would do a trip and then when it was over I would type everything and add to my web site. Typing to Word then cut and paste works best for me because my web site is ALL home grown and does not have the edit features that the Blog Sites offer.
Ed, Somewhat similar to what you described I might need to type on the computer off-line and then post it on the internet once per week or whenever I'm in town. I don't want to go back to following the Verizon wireless coverage map when I get back on the road.
Unknown said…
Boonie... Like you I type faster than I can write. Get those thoughts down as they flow. Then I can go back to edit the typos and they incomplete thoughts.
Anonymous said…
Boonie, there is no need to follow the "V" coverage map. It's almost omnipresent.
Verizon is quite good, especially compared to others. But topography will always kill the signal, once you're no longer in the viewscape of the valley where the population is.

Also, the entire eastern third of New Mexico is Verizon-free. Coverage is quite limited along US60 west.

So I just need a little netbook to bring to town once per week when I do laundry, groceries, and water.