That title’s sarcastic, in case you didn’t get it. I may be writing this book on a laptop but I am surrounded by paper. (As an update to my last post, the MacBook still dead, but perhaps not quite dead as a dodo. A techie friend has coaxed me through a special startup which suggests that the hard drive is still alive, just a bit corrupted – it’s the Boris Johnson of the Mac wold, it seems. So although I can’t revive it here in Switzerland, things are looking hopeful for when I get it into the clutches of the Apple Store Genius Bar on my return to Cambridge.)
Yes, surrounded by paper. Looking around me I see a flowery folder containing my initial printout of the book as it was when I left home, marked up with changes to be made. Then there is my “ideas” list of, well, ideas that might or might not make it into “Plank 4”. (The ideas list is an organic creature – just this morning I added something to the part of it devoted to “Plank 5”, so any idea might one day find a home.) Added to that (thanks to the technical traumas of recent days) is my list of “things I think I changed on the MacBook and now need to change on the laptop, but I may have forgotten some” – that’s a particularly irritating list, and it woke me last night. There is another list of “things to check when online”, as I don’t have wifi in the apartment and have to look everything up by hiking up the mountain to the tourist office, so I like to use my time well when I get there. And then scattered about the table on scraps of paper are more random thoughts that occur to me, such as “where does Rambert go on Thursdays?” and “bonded warehouse drinking permits”. (There are also other notes with reminders like “get new lock for letterbox”, but they’re to do with housekeeping issues and I very much hope I don’t accidentally incorporate them into “Plank 4”.) This is another benefit of selfishly going off on a writing retreat: I can leave my stuff all over the table and don’t have to clear it away or worry about someone else tidying it for me. It’s messier than I normally like, and I am sure Martha would sniff if she saw it, but it’s a stage that must be endured – and crossing out or scrunching up the completed items is extremely pleasing.
Don’t forget that the “Plank 4” title poll is now live – please head over there and vote if you have not already. And if you have, you can click on the “Show results” button at the foot of the poll to see which title is in the lead.