I have two complaints to file today. These have been simmering–no, festering–for weeks, and it’s time I said something.
(1) Reading on my iPad is NOT, NOT, NOT the f***ing same. Don’t get me wrong, as a writer and PhD student in Paris, I don’t know what I’d do without my ebooks and pdfs. Cry? Watch my creative stomach consume itself, Twila Tharp-style? But!! I miss holding books. I miss bookmarks. I miss feeling where I am in a book by the number of pages ahead and behind my present location. I miss writing in the margins. I miss flipping through the pages. Yes, a search function felt “handy” at first, but now I just wish I could follow my own mind’s map through the physical pages in a physical book. Andrew Karre, those thoughts you had about discreteness? They’re not just idle worries. They’re the stuff of my current angst. By the way, I’m pretty sure the Andrew of August 18, 2011, did some time travel and read my (now) diary to be able to write this:
I love books for their self-contained universes. I worry about what happens to the discreteness of those universes when there is nothing to prevent me from barging through every thin place, every interdimensional wormhole I encounter. It seems that every step toward pervasive electronic books reveals another way in which paper books are perfect technology.
Me too!! I want paper baaaack!*
(2) The Twitter character limit that used to seem “fun” and “challenging” is currently pissing me off. I know, I know, I even said Twitter could make you a better writer by training you to self-edit. And probably it can. But who f***ing cares when they want to communicate a semi-nuanced thought? I’m sick of feeling like a bad Hemingway imitator. I’m embarrassed by my chronic two-tweet messages. Yes, yes, I know I can enable a “long message” linking feature, but that makes me feel like I have diarrhea of the keys. Or like I’ve signed up for a modification that I should be good enough not to need. Damn it, why isn’t it 200 characters? Just give me that. Can’t they base the bulk of a Twitter message on an overweight Paris pigeon instead of that skinny, too-damn-cute chickadee they used to weigh out our characters? Come on, guys…
*No friggin’ surprise that Andrew called this one. He’s brilliant, like I said here.