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“On a cold January morning, I once asked a fashionably dressed middle-aged woman, standing outside a building on Madison Avenue smoking a cigarette and shivering, whether she had a pen I could use. She didn’t think this was an odd request and was happy to oblige me. After she extracted a pencil not much bigger than a matchstick from her purse, I took out a little notebook I carried in my pocket, and not trusting the reliability of my memory, wrote down some lines of poetry I had been mulling over for the previous hour, roaming the streets. Today, she’d probably be staring at an iPhone or a blackberry while puffing away on her cigarette and it would not cross my mind to bother her by asking for a pencil.”

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source: New York Review of Books Blog, October 12, 2011.

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“The process of writing and thinking on screen has a wonderful lightness, a sense of constant changeability and evanescence. But sometimes you need to touch down. As the pamphlet that comes tucked into each Moleskine says, it’s a way ‘to capture reality on the move.’ I can pull ideas not only out of my mind but out of the ethereal digital dimension and given them material presence and stability. Yes, you exist, you are worthy of this world. It doesn’t matter that the best of my notes will ultimately reside on my hard drive. The point is that before any of that happens, while the ideas are still cooking, I spend time with a tool that brings out the best in my mind. It may be an old tool, but, like a hinged door, it can do things that the new gadgets can’t.”

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source: Hamlet’s BlackBerry (New York: HarperCollins, 2010), 154.

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medium: nonfiction

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