much like reading and math.. and life.. perhaps it’s more about falling in love with the questions, finding the thing you can’t not do… until.. you can’t not write/share.
what is writing..
what medium can you not use and still call it writing..
you come too.
might we redefine nclb?
“a usable writing device that’s also a critique of the system of writing itself”
My review of the Freewrite aka Hemingwrite aka (as per me) DeLillograph: theatlantic.com/technology/arc…
by ian bogost
it’s easy to forget how much the tools with which we write change what it means to write in the first place.
Anyway, since my old file has evaporated to the cloud, I’m joining you again in a brand-new, blank file. Which means that I can’t remember what I was writing before this digression. I think I was telling you about how writing tools change the nature of writing. The typewriter depersonalized writing, disconnecting it from the human hand that once had fashioned it. Forms and papers, but also letters and notes became bureaucratized when typed instead of written. Not to mention sonified: the tap-clack-ding-shwwwnk of the typewriter signals industriousness, no matter the content on the page.
When the electronic word processor and the personal computer came onto the scene, they changed writing still further. Editing became a part of writing from the very start, thanks to the ability to move the insertion point, select and relocate text, to backspace and correct, and generally to enter the copy arbitrarily.
Writing today feels terrible not because writing has changed (surely writing always felt terrible), but because today one can never write alone. The writer always feels watched by the voyeur army of real and imagined critics that later will post or tweet inflammatory comments after publication.
The Freewrite removes that shroud, situating the writer in the world, while also making the writer’s work transparent to any who would happen to look or wonder. And given that the device is small and light enough to take anywhere, that place could be anywhere—the armchair, the bed, the toilet, the terrace, the lawn. It signals that its user is writing, because it can do nothing else.
(and costs 500 – so not advocating.. just interesting look at history of tech and writing)
The Freewrite almost feels like an en plein air field easel, but for words rather than pigments. I can look at what I am writing about, without looking back and forth to the screen on which I would write it.
I feel headless. Blind, almost. I’m typing—writing, I should call it, but it doesn’t feel that way—on nothing whatsoever. This is a device that truly earns the name “cloud,” for it makes me feel as if I am floating.
Merely going offline to write on a small-batch smart typewriter will hardly change the aesthetics of reading and writing. Nobody writes without cribbing.
Freewrite, a usable writing device that’s also a critique of the system of writing itself.
There’s an old aphorism about writing that goes: Real writers write with the mind, not with the fingers. Actually it’s not an old aphorism, I just made it up right now and I can’t check if anyone’s said something similar because I left my phone in the house. But out here, sitting on the lawn with the Freewrite in my lap, the sun peering in and out of the clouds, I can almost believe that I might yet write with my head—or even with my soul. This is a soulful gadget, and in this time of dumb smartwhatevers, even if that’s all it is wouldn’t it be enough?
Back at the computer, I retrieve, assemble, and edit my Freewrite drafts into this article. The copy is a hot mess: full of typos I didn’t bother to backspace and correct, split across a handful of weirdly-named files, tiny and unstyled on-screen, pock-marked with double-hyphens and straight-quotes. The drunken feeling has worn off but, the words still feel like the ones you write when drunk.
The Freewrite offers another model: one where writing becomes an activity that has computers in it, rather than an activity that takes place inside computers. Maybe—hopefully—this is the future. And not just for writing, but for everything else, too.
I have no idea what’s going on.
But if I was going to guess: I’d say that the Internet connected the whole world, and we slowly collectively realised we had a 5k year hangover.
We haven’t yet processed the impact or implications of writing as a medium.
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/thejaymo/status/1029470859478659073