“how can you people live this way?”

That line is spoken in "The Mystery of the Quiet People," by one of the suspects. She can't imagine how people could function without telephones and taxicabs. That made me think of this post on the blog "I Had the Write Idea," where I commented that my characters have no access to Facebook (and are perfectly happy without it). I thought of that more recently when I was reading this post on the blog "distraction no. 99," basically asking how anybody can get any writing done with the internet always waiting to offer millions upon millions of distractions.

I enjoy a lot of the distractions that the online world offers, including Facebook, but sometimes you have to turn them off in order to get things done (or at least I do).

For example, when I write about U-town, I never think of the limitations of a world without computers, since I lived in that world for the majority of my life (I will have to calculate when I will pass the point when that will no longer be true – I'm thinking another fifteen years). Well, I guess I'm calculating that from when I got my first computer (I was earlier than a lot of people, but certainly not a pioneer), which was around the same time the Web was invented – and that's the really distracting part of the Internet.

And, as has been pointed out before, Fritz Drybeam in Inherent Vice was probably the first internet addict, and at a certain point he decides that he has to get off line and get back to work. And that was in 1970, a couple of decades before the invention of the Web.

But, as far as computers go, they're really useful, but my favorite thing about them has never changed. As I said in this blog post:

"If you've ever written a novel on a typewriter, that's reason enough to value a computer.

"It allows me to revise text without retyping. Everything else is gravy. Tasty gravy, in some cases, but gravy."

That's why I bought my first computer, and that's still the coolest thing they do. And, much as I appreciate writing on computers, that has never translated to wanting to write about computers. Before I had a computer, I wrote on typewriters, and I never had any desire to write about them either.

And, in terms of how people in U-town can possibly live without telephones and taxicabs (let alone computers and cell phones and so on), as in, I enjoy thinking of how people can figure out how to solve problems with limited resources. One of the things I learned from The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, I suppose.

(Given that this is the second post in a row where I've mentioned The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, for different reasons, I'm thinking there needs to be a new entry in "The Ten Pillars of Modern Literature.")

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Tech Topics, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.