Sunday, June 6, 2010

The spayed computer

I've written before about how easily distracted from my work I am by email and internet and how I ought to have a second computer that isn't connected. There's an interesting note about that strategy from Johathan Lethem on the Pen America site, and the New Yorker book blog summarizes it:

In an e-mail correspondence posted on PEN American's Web site that's been running this week, Jonathan Lethem tells David Gates his secret for writing fiction: an Internet-less laptop. "I’ve set up a second computer, devoid of internet, for my fiction-writing," Lethem explains. "You should imagine my computer set-up guy’s consternation when I insisted he drag the Internet function out of the thing entirely. 'I can just hide it from you,' he said. 'No,' I told him, 'I don’t want to know it’s in there somewhere.'"

I've decided I'm actually going to do it. (In my case, this is more about the revision process, which I do in a word processor, than the drafting, which I do long-hand.) I now have a computer to spare that will work for this -- one I replaced because it was operating too slowly and because I wanted more memory for photos on the extended trip I'm on. When I get home, the new one will be my connected computer, and I'm going to spay the old laptop to use for the revision work.

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