Monday, November 8, 2010

Words In Motion

Excuse me please for the post title, I know it sounds like a local library slogan pasted on poster taped to the back of a bookshelf in the young adults section but there is an explanation.

My recent purchase of a netbook, after the very timely demise of my previous full-size laptop (of which several keys were beginning to fall off of the food crumb infested keyboard, burned with the heat of a thousand suns if left on for any time greater than three minutes and which had a battery life no greater than twice that amount of time making it the most unportable of portable computers), has been a source of some joy and motivation in the last few weeks.  It's small and lightweight stature allow it to accompany me nearly everywhere I go, sitting neat and cute in a pocket of my backpack, prepared to be pulled out at any moment's notice for a few minutes or hours of story crafting.

In the past I had almost always carried traditionally notebooks on my person (that is, pieces of lined, blank paper bound together in a book) along with several pens for this exact purpose but using the tiny computer involves so much less work, so much less mess (paper rips and exploding pens).  Not that I have completely abandoned the paper and pen, the idea of sitting beneath a tree on a summer's day armed only with these instruments of creativity still feels very much like the romanticized ideal to me but for practical purposes, a portable word processor that can also play music and surf the internet (a horrendous pitfall in terms of distraction, why at this very moment I should be working on something else more important) works much better - as long as its battery still contains a charge.

But, and here's the point of it all, where the netbook truly shines is during extended train trips when, otherwise, the bumpy nature of the ride makes traditional ink-to-paper word scribbling more tedious and frustrating than productive.  Typing on the train, along with headphones to block out all the potential distractions of rowdy weekend riders, seems to focus me greatly - thanks to a) the fact that I'm on a train and have no where else to go until I reach my stop and b) the fact that I most likely will have no internet service on said train which, as I've mentioned, is a huge fucking distraction when trying to write.  Non-wireless internet functionality is probably, along with the eternal self-powering ability, the feature which still make paper notebooks and pens still very much desirable to writers despite this crazy techno-fantastical world we all live in.