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Paper & pencil

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Circumstances and necessity have taken me back to a pad of paper & a pencil.

Years now of typing in, typing up, scanning in and saving 'stuff' digitally finds me returning to the safe, solid & 'real' storing, sharing & manipulation of 'stuff.'

Lack of space in the house had me taking of the kitchen/dining table with the laptop. My 'office' took over the place & I got fed-up of needing to work at 5.00am so that it could be cleared away.

Then the Laptop screen bust.

It's an iBook. It's pushing seven years old (which in laptop years, as in doggie years, probably makes it due for retirement). It is no longer a laptop & it is no longer on the dining room table ... or on my lap out and about. Instead it is on a desk the width of a large shelf at the end of the bed.

No longer being a student, or a child with his own bedroom (this doesn't last long guys, if you are in this position) & therefore sharing a bed (& bedroom) - it has its pleasures & comforts. No longer being a student ... & sharing a bedroom means that access therefore to this cornucopiea of semi-retired, quasi-disabled techno-stuff may only occur when hers truly is up. I'm a lark, she's an owl. Access is denied 'til mid morning.

Unless I tip myself into the 'study,' a broom-cupboard that takes a desk and a narrow set of shelves, one person, one office-chair - her office chair.

Pencil & Paper

I don't even have a fountain pen that functions. Ink on paper would be my preference if I must put pen to paper. I like a good pen, but I will lose them. But I no longer have teh luxury of replacing them when lost.

Poverty has its lessons. (If I dare even call it that).

So I am using a pencil on paper. The pencil needs to be sharpened every few lines, so I clutch a sharpener in one hand, the pencil in the other. I flick through pages of a tatty book and make notes. These pages & this book, given my inclination to box & store said 'stuff' could be around in fifty years time.

I have double 8 film shot by my late father in the 1960s - on film, on a digital Beta master, on VHS & DVD. It exists.

I have diaries, from the 'Five Year Diary' bought for me in 1976 & the others - hardback A4 lined for the most part - for the following 16 years. All boxed & safe.

I 'postcard' photos of my late grandfather - one is dated 1905, others 1918. I have pics of other relatives across the century.

And our wedding

And our infant children

But find me the CD of photos taken on holiday in Cornwall 6 years ago. It is buried in a stack of labelled Photo-CDs.

Find me a photo I took of Lewes Castle in the snow only a month ago ... it is lost amongst hundreds of versions of this and other photographs that have been loaded onto this PC over the last couple of weeks from four different phones & any of three digital cameras. Each of appears to have a different way of doing this, uses a different software programme too.

Digital Stalemate?

Please don't tell me I should have sytems, methods & to do this or that to resolve the clutter. A computer each to start with.


The digitisation of everything will be our undoing - it will result in a block, a jam, a mental breakdown.

In a reflexive mood, you see.

Preparing for an exam in a month's time I find I am falling back on old methods - methods that worked for me before. The notes on a piece of paper. The re-hashing of these notes. Then attempts to recall the information or to answer questions from a mock paper. All of this I do offline, on paper as described above.

Just as watching TV, we are told, can be like a person smoking canabis - semi-comatose, I do wonder if despite this interactivity, that screens, removed by one step from 'reality' are therefore less conducive to forming deeper mylenation in the mind and so the information is less likely to be retained.

In any case, the input here is on a QWERTY keyboard, whilst the 'exam' will be black Biro to paper. Something else gets lost in translation.

There is no easy way to make the information stick - not, at least in my case, without visualisation & engagement, without a battle in which the pathways in my brian take on some significance.

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