9.21.2014

On Fragmentation

I've been thinking about typewriters lately. And how much I enjoy typing on them. For the longest time, I thought it was because the typewriter is a connection to the past, to this whole group of literary giants. Then I thought it was the tactile sensation. This is something I still believe, that the act of pressing a key and seeing the mechanism move creates a feeling in the gut, a tangible progress that goes missing in word processors. Add to that the cadence of the typewriter itself and you have magic. It is glee, the transferal from thought to keystroke to ink on a real piece of paper. It is creation.

But I don't think that's all that's going on, at least for me, when using a typewriter. For me, I think it has something to do with fragmentation. This is a word that gets thrown around in various circles, most notably in the smartphone blogs. They talk about it as a negative aspect of Android phones, but I don't think the word deserves to have only a negative connotation.

/ʼfrægmənt/ n.

Etymology: French fragment (16th century) or Latin fragmentum (frangere to break).
     1. A part broken off or otherwise detached from a whole.

And yes, this could be very negative in a lot of scenarios, but I think that, at least for me, fragmentation is a great way to work. And I think a typewriter is a great example of this. By doing my fiction writing on a typewriter, I am keeping it separate, fragmenting it, from all of my other work that I do on my computer. The act of fragmentation does something wonderful to both my creativity and my work ethic. Lately I've found myself struggling to write even a few paragraphs on the computer, but when I carry my typewriter over to the dining room table I can type three pages like its no big deal. 

I think this happens in part because of the way technology has evolved to be a part of my life. It may not be this way for everyone out there, but I am fairly obsessed with technology. I read blogs about it almost every day. It's a little unhealthy, but I am so fascinated by where phones and computers are going, that I can't help myself. My phone has become a little computer, and I find myself using it and my regular computer in similar ways. I read blogs. I check social media. I play games. I listen to music. This is the opposite of fragmentation, and it's only going to continue progressing until our phones and computers are the same thing. Already we're seeing how iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite communicate with each other. On the other side of the aisle, Google is pairing Android with their Chrome OS. And I'm sure Windows 9 will have a similar goal. On one hand, this is great. I won't have to deal with physically unlocking my phone when I'm at home, near my computer, but on the other hand, it's a little too much for my productivity. Because the closer I relate my phone and my computer, the less I think of my computer as a work space. I'm already unconsciously identifying it as a more powerful version of my phone. 

Again, maybe it's not the same for everyone, but it is happening to me. I know I play around on my phone too much, so that doesn't help, but I do think there's something to this. As someone interested in the evolution of technology, I find this unification to be really cool, but as a writer (maybe a little weak willed), I find it very difficult. 

I only find this difficulty in my fiction writing. I can write emails, as well as this blog entry, on my computer with no problem, but I am able to write less and less fiction on it. It is because of this, that I've cleaned and oiled my typewriter. It's not as an attempt to turn away from digital technology, but an effort to reset my brain.

I plan on keeping this blog updated about my progress. My plan is to take the pages I've type and re-write them on my computer to see how that goes. In addition to the typewriter, I will no longer be typing in Google Docs (as has become my habit) because that further unifies the entirety of the internet and my work space. It's super convenient, but I don't think it is very good for me creatively. I will open up a word processor and type everything out, only using my cloud storage for backing up my local drive. We'll see what happens, but I hope I can retrain my brain to separate my phone from my computer and my work from my play. 

Wish me luck.


4.07.2013


OMG, the internet.



Also, this:


4.05.2013

This is incredibly frightening.

3.11.2013

SPRING BREAK!!!!

OMG. I am going to win so many wet t-shirt contests.

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3.02.2013

Yes, Sophia

Today I came across a heartwarming story (dated November 1, 2012) about a little girl who wrote a letter to the president. Her name is Sophia and she wrote to tell President Obama about her two dads. She introduces herself as, "...your friend who invited you to dinner," and goes on to say,  "...I am so glad you agree that two men can love each other because I have two dads and they love each other." She says that her classmates think that it's gross that she has two dads. And since President Obama didn't respond to her dinner invitation, you can only imagine her surprise when he wrote a response to this letter.


In his letter he states, "In America, no two families look the same. We celebrate this diversity. And we recognize that whether you have two dads or one mom what matters above all is the love we show one another," and, "You are very fortunate to have two parents who care deeply for you. They are lucky to have such an exceptional daughter in you."

Notice, though, he does not say that her two dads will soon be treated the same as all loving couples across the U.S. of A. He says that what is most important is the love of her parents. It's very touching--and to some extent, spot on about love mattering most--but, taking into account the heated debate over marriage rights, I hope more comes of this than just a letter getting posted to Facebook.

I worry that nothing will come of this. Yes, this does bode well for the future of the United States, but there is something about this exchange that leaves me wanting more. The first thing that came to mind upon reading both Sophia's and President Obama's letters was another famous exchange between a little girl and a man she held in high regard. Because, while the "Yes, Virginia" letter did a great thing for that little girl, and warmed the hearts of many readers, it was still apparent to any reader above a certain age that the editor was, to some extent, lying to Virginia in order to ease her mind.  My hope is that, unlike an editor's attempt at alleviating a girl's fears of a world with no Santa Claus, our POTUS decides to back this with all his power. So please, Mr. President, keep fighting. 




2.17.2013

Fun With Randomizers

Refresh, Refresh

5.12.2012

It's not that I don't believe in God. It's more that I believe there is no God.