Speak, Memory




<-- Neatly filling numbered gaps -->

p.10, ¶ 3

I used to write, when I used to actually write, like with pens – always black, never pencils – on actual paper, through a sort of reverse cut-up method. This was, of course, only at the last minute because I'd spent the entire time doing other unrelated things and only sometimes actively thinking about the piece itself.

I'd get a rough, unordered list of ideas I wanted to cover or phrases I wanted to use, and then write sections for each of them with no connections, only to pull them together later. Sometimes, I would literally cut a piece of paper with the sections up to rearrange them later, but more often than not, the sections would be written at different times, so I'd end up with lots of small, differently-colored bits of paper scattered around on my table. Would've been more fun to turn that in instead. I don't think teachers would take well to it, though. I became very fond of Post-It notes because of their portability. I once wrote a piece for a reading that was written in four different directions, jumping across five differently-sized pieces of paper of three different kinds, with little numbers telling me where to jump on which sheet next. I think I might have done this in part because a blank sheet of paper is an intimidating thing, and making it smaller seems to help a bit; makes the filling up a little more realistic, or something. A constant problem I have now, of course, is that computers essentially present infinitely large blank sheets. Window size isn't much of a comfort, since the text just pushes down off the edge, so I have a compulsive habit of cleaning up the blank space between paragraphs I'm working on in a document to try and keep it all within the confines of the window.

I've never done extensive editing. Most of the stuff I wouldn't want never made it onto paper in the first place, since I spent so much time going over it in my head. I would just revise as I rewrote the stuff for turning in, my handwriting becoming magically neat in the process, which I never got used to. Teachers who demanded first, second, etc. drafts(mysterious things they seems to consider deeply important), were a particular annoyance to me who generally received work that was simply incomplete rather than unedited. They'd always get these confused looks on their faces when I tried to explain why I didn't have these draft-things they spoke of.

As much software as I've screwed around with, I've never really come across a program that lets me work quite the way I like. Tinderbox is intriguing, since it's got intelligence that tries to links your snippets all on its own. That in itself could produce some interesting things if you just leave it to its assumptions. But it's Mac-only, and I'm still not spending enough time on either of PK's machines to warrant much software I can only use on them. Personal Brain, despite its unfortunate name, is also neat, and works with your entire system as a sort of alternate shell that lets you associate concepts with entire files, but things like that always make me paranoid that they're going to move all my stuff around. Someday, I'll actually get around to installing it or some other alternative to the plain Windows Explorer, if only for the sake of curiosity. Until then, though, it seems I'm going to be stuff with using no-frills Notepad to fulfill my text-editing needs.

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