But I Won’t Crumple Them; That Would Take Effort

Suffice to say that this has been one of those heavy, frustrating workweeks in which I’ve been constantly distracted by the knowledge that there’s a valid passport in my filing cabinet and enough available credit on my Diner’s Club card to buy an air ticket to almost any friendly nation on earth.

The only hitch: I’d probably have to Expedia the tickets, and the really good deals require at least a three-week advance purchase. So I’d definitely be denied the giddy pleasure of drinking mimosas in Rio eight hours before anyone even realized I was gone. Instead, I’d be in a nondescript motor lodge in New Hampshire Delaware, where I’d be holed up for most of a month no fewer than seven weeks waiting for my departure date. I think you’ll agree there’s a lack of satisfying drama in this scenario.

See what I almost did there? I nearly gave away my plans. You members of the Platinum Double-Diamond Executive Rewards Club get to see the edits. Normal readers, including my enemies, shall remain completely in the dark. I’m adding this secret note so that you folks can help me out with the disinformation campaign. You know who didn’t have Platinum Double-Diamond Executive Rewards Club Readers? Whitey Bulger and Osama Bin Laden, just to name two. I’m confident that you people will pull through for me where their blog readers failed.

Yup, work on my upcoming iPad and iPhone books is now in the “frenetic” phase. Early knowledge that iOS 5 would contain truly transformative elements forced me to write in “LEGO brick” fashion, where I do all of the research and then write big hunks, without a firm knowledge of the final form of the book and saddled with a nagging worry that I’d have to spend ages on new material and fixing up existing stuff. iCloud is just part of the problem, and it’s problem enough: I can hardly find a chapter of the original outline that wasn’t fundamentally affected by Apple’s new cloud service.

Hence my dreamy fantasies about a new life in South Korea and a new job selling straw hats at a beach resort or something. I’ve spent the past week and a half rewriting the book’s outline and pounding chapters into shape. It’ll all come out well in the end, I know, but a quality product only comes after you spend a long time at the forge, pounding, pounding, pounding away at the steel until the object that you see in front of you looks like the gorgeously deadly weapon of truth, beauty and wisdom that you’ve been picturing in your mind all this time.

I’m taking a break today to work on some Sun-Times columns and also (yeesh) tidy up a bit. For decades, when a movie or a TV show wanted to communicate “A writer has been writing hard for hours, days, or weeks” via a single, instantly-understood visual, it would simply show an office strewn with hundreds of crumpled-up sheets of typing paper.

Alas, even when I was a kid, a typewriter was that funny thing way back in a basement closet that your Mom or Dad kept from their college days. This old trope is destined for the dustbin of history.

But as I look around my office…

…And the TV room…

…And the bedroom…

…And the room I use as a podcast studio…

I realize that a new trope has stepped in to fill the void: the half-drunk can of diet cola. Yes, if it’s possible for me to write for an extended period in any specific spot in my house, then at this moment that spot is surrounded by at least $1.80 in deposit cans containing probably about six ounces of backspit, total.

It’s a perfect modern adaptation of a familiar visual. It acknowledges the obsolescence of written pages, it reflects the fact that laptops and WiFi have made “the place where I work” into an almost uselessly-fluid concept, and most importantly it opens up whole new opportunities for commercial product placement.

10 thoughts on “But I Won’t Crumple Them; That Would Take Effort

  1. Jeff Edsell

    “Hence my dreamy fantasies about a new life in South Korea and a new job selling straw hats at a beach resort or something.”

    You know what job I think about when I’m stressed? Those little magazine stands on the corner. That would be a fairly low-pressure job, I think, as I have my doubts as to whether a single magazine is ever sold.

  2. Instig8r

    I insist that when I finish a can of Nutrisweet I walk it to the recycle bin at the other end of the house (and grab another from the fridge). Such discipline also doubles as my exercise regimen.


  3. Tony

    The job I daydream about is having a Tech phone in show on Radio Wales all I would have to tell PC users to do is Re-install Windows, after all that’s what Leo usually has to resort to after he has run through the usual suspects.
    To be fair trouble shooting a PC over the phone is as difficult as being a vet and being asked to give a diagnosis without looking at the animal.
    BTW wouldn’t a Worldwide Re-install Windows Day do a great deal to help reduce malware and speed up PCs worldwide?

  4. Russ

    That job in some far-off tropical destination sounds wonderful… till you see where those same people usually live. I say, consider downgrading your lifestyle here in America (Most of us don’t use the backyard as a toilet here. GO AMERICA!!)

    How about a career in Roll Distribution? Nothing sounds as stress-free then a job where all you have to do is carry a wicker basket full of hot buttery rolls, the best tongs in the restaurant and a smile.

  5. Rob Munzing,Maine

    Andy is it true that Whitey Bulger was found hiding with the Sedin twins from the Canuks? Head to Southie and see if you can get that story.

  6. jancolors

    Late to this party, writing from Delaware; Andy, I have a spare bedroom that is also the musical instrument & music library. The welcome mat is always out for you. Equal distance from BWI or PHL (about 80 min). An ideal backwater, no one will find you here, believe me.

    I like your stress relief writing! (okay, I like all your writing) Best regards.

  7. Dan Carmell

    Given that so many word processing apps use a fountain pen in their icons, I don’t think you have to worry about tropes involving typewriters and discarded pages dying immediately. Now, if it was foolscap and a quill, you’d have a premise!

  8. Terri MacMillan

    So late, so very very late to the party. Just had to say that I’m a long time fan in Tokyo (by way of NYC) and I completely appreciate your stellar work on MacBreak Weekly…

    So, um, carry on!:-)

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