When OneMonkey isn’t playing guitar (I really wish it was Zappa to tie in with my post title, but this evening it’s mainly the Stones and the rest of the week’s seen – or heard I suppose – a lot of Megadeth) he’s good at coming up with nifty suggestions of the kind that seem so obvious once they’ve been made. As those who read the saga will know, I like to carry a notebook to write in on the train or at lunch, which is great but then I need to have that electronically so I can either continue working on it as a new piece, or add it to a continuing story. The technologically-minded will suggest I carry a laptop, or a mobile phone with qwerty keyboard, and make my notes electronically from the start, but apart from my fear of dead batteries that sort of misses the point of my extensive search for a satisfactory notebook. They may also suggest, as a compromise, scanning in my pages and using optical character recognition, but they wouldn’t if they knew my handwriting (not helped by a swaying carriage).
What I generally do is type up the content of my book: I sit the book on my bureau, balancing something heavy but not heavy enough to damage the spine (which object may have to be my hand if I can’t find anything else) on the open page to hold it open, then I glance across from keyboard to book (possibly typing with one hand) and not doing my neck or hands any favours. Enter OneMonkey, man of ideas: take digital photos of the pages, transfer to the computer, open them beside the file you want to type in (zooming in as necessary, instead of squinting at the tiny scrawl that marks the extra line you thought of later), thus minimising neck movement and freeing both hands for typing (and removing the need to find some object of just the right mass and size to hold the book open). Why didn’t I think of that?