I’ve been buying a fair bit of stationary this last few weeks. Folders, notebooks. I’ve even ordered a space pen to allow me to write more comfortably while sprawled on the sofa. This recent post from Icy Sedgwick got me thinking about what was driving all this impulse buying.
The last few weeks, when I have had a block of time, I have disappeared off to the local library with my macbook and writing. I haven’t bothered to get a voucher for the wireless internet there and have found myself freed up to write without the lure of twitter or email or the dreaded facebook (which some of you will realise I have recently begun to embrace, albeit a wary, one-eye-open-in-case-of-sudden-violence type of embrace).
My last visit, last Saturday morning saw me draft an entire short story over a two hour period. The words just rattled out. I stopped for coffee at the library coffee shop and read a bit of Lorrie Moore. That was my only distraction from the work, apart from trawling the English book shelves and finding a Miranda July collection for my short story challenge. I can see me doing this more over the next few weeks, and when I can after our new baby arrives. While the library isn’t a silent space, the hushed voices all being in German is strangely relaxing, I can zone out foreign languages it seems, where I am intensely sensitive to English speaking voices.
I think the buying of stationary is to help me prepare to do this in the home. I can take a folder off to the garden, or upstairs away from the kids if i have a free half an hour. And you can’t get internet on a A4 writing pad. Not yet anyway. I’ll be honest, the space pen is for the gadget addict in me. Cheaper than buying an iPad and probably better for producing meaningful writing than the cut down Pages app on the iPad. I have even printed off hard copies of all my current work and all my short fiction so I can haul that folder about to mark up drafts at a moments notice. I won’t be abandoning my macbook just yet, but I will be making more use of old tech.
On a related note, I have been thinking about buying a typewriter for a while now. I had an old portable manual back in my late teens and early twenties that I took every where and blasted out everything from degree assignments to comics scripts on. Problem is I’d like one of these. As you can see the price makes it a bit more than an impulse buy. That said, it’ll probably produce a document with fewer layout errors than the iPad Pages apps if the reviews are to be believed.
In the meantime, I’ve installed Typewriter Keyboard on my macbook, and have been writing with it on all day. It has been many years since the clack clack of keys has accompanied my writing, but I have found the sound strangely productive. Like my fingers are once again driving a machine rather than a piece of software. Each tap tap tap brings me that much closer to completing whatever it is I am writing. The sound drives me on with an almost locomotive percussion. Next best thing to the real thing and nowhere near as expensive.
How about you? What stationary fetishes do you harbour? How do you escape the clutches of modern technology?