It’s interesting to me that the method that I use to capture my words has an effect on how and what I write. One of my great interests is using old school methods of pencil and pad. The handbound leather book filled with blank sheets of handmade linen paper is a joy to have around. I scribble in it a few times a year.This is the sketch I made for a series of paintings I have planned entitled, “Practice Signs for the Post-Apocalyptic Physicians and Surgeons.” This one is for an otolaryngologist.
The writing is done with a Cross fountain pen which was a graduation gift from my fellowship. I used to have a beautiful Mont Blanc pen, another gift, but sadly, I lost it during residency. There is something fun about scribbling that is lost when scrabbling away on a keyboard.
Speaking of keyboards, the picture below shows a manual Royal office typewriter, the kind that were used in the forties and fifties. I saw this one at a church sale in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the spring of my senior year. It was in mint condition, and I was poor, but I shelled out 25 bucks for it. As a kind of perverse oppositional-defiant pose during medical school, I submitted all my notes to the class note-taking cooperative by typing them out on this dinosaur. I thought it just oozed an old school vibe that went along well with the drafty lecture amphitheaters that were constructed in the 1920’s, and the chain-smoking anatomy professor puffing away after revealing some hidden, secret bodily chamber in the very anatomy lab that inspired the book and movie, “Coma.” The typewriter also went very well with my Barton Fink apartment.
My current writing instruments include a Macbook Pro 15 inch running the simple TextEdit that came with it. When I want to create formatted documents, I use Pages (Apple) or NeoOffice (free! port of the OpenOffice suite). Just can’t stand to give another dime to Bill Gates. When I go portable, I use an Acer Aspire One pictured below. It goes 6-7 hrs on a charge, and allows for a fair bit of work, if you don’t mind the cramped keyboard. It is the size of a non-fiction hardback book. The only handicap it has is that it runs on Windows XP. I confess that I write to enjoy the process of writing as much as reading the final product. Mastering the many ways you can write -whether scratching a mark on a rock or typing in the cloud on Google Docs, is pleasurable. It’s the same in fishing when you tie your own flies or dig out your own worms, grubs, and crickets. Or when you golf by knocking a rock with a stout tree branch.