In a recent issue of Good, I discovered a computer program called WhiteRoom. (BlackRoom Darkroom for the poor, masochistic, souls who use Windows) It essentially turns your computer in a a typewriter. All distractions are removed, and what you are left with is a monochrome background and a type of a different color. That’s it. I feel like this is the kind of word processor I need to really thrive. I, like everyone else in my generation, seem to be distracted by the Internet to a dangerous level. Any random thought that crosses my mind I can attempt to look up on the Internet. Then, in the course of that mental masturbation, I’ll find something else more fascinating that must be explored and explained. What was originally a search for the spelling of a city commissioner for Bowling Green, Ky. becomes an exploration of the life and writings of Carl Lumholtz. Two hours later I’ve gotten no further on my original task. Even without the distraction of the Internet it seems that all the slickness of my computer can distract me. It calls to some lower brain function passed on to me by an ancestor who was impressed by shinny things.
This is minimalism, at least as much as possible when talking about using a computer to write. I guess the only way to get further down the technology scale, aside from a typewriter (I found one at a consignment shop in relatively good working condition for $40 this weekend. I didn’t buy it, but damn if I wasn’t tempted) is to write out everything with a pen and paper. That is definitely something I am a proponent of. (Strunk and White, your rules are pointless, I’ll write how I speak, more or less, and people will be much more emotionally attached. Down with the grammar aristocracy!) See. I get distracted easily. Back to that which is mightier than the sword. I enjoy writing things out. I think it is pleasing to the eye. Handwriting is a form of art. But it doesn’t allow for the mass publication that my computer, and therefore, the Internet does. I suppose I could write out rants and stories 15 or 20 times, then send them via the U.S. Postal Service. You would like that. Well, stop being so selfish. I’ve got social obligations to meet, and spending an hour or two writing out letters everyday isn’t included in them.
So, for the next 30 days, I am going to give WhiteRoom a shot. I don’t think it is a panacea for my attention problem. That is called Adderall. Hopefully, it boast my productivity when it comes to writing. Maybe I’ll be more prolific than before. God help the world if that’s the case. I don’t fully understand half of what I say or write, who knows what the rest of you think. If I think about that too long I’m likely to give up on this whole experiment of life.
Until next time,