Friday, June 10, 2016

A writer's weapon of choice

In command
London, ON
May 2016
Click here for more Thematic Monochrome
Disclosure: I have a lot of peculiar little habits. From the things I eat to the way I sleep to the technique I use to get on and off a bicycle (always to/from the left, not sure why), I am a churning ball of tiny oddities that in another era might have gotten me studied by strange people in white coats with clicky pens and messy haircuts.

Add writing to the list, because the list of must-haves and must-dos that accompany my writing could easily fill a book.

Let's start - and end - with the keyboard you see above. It's an Apple keyboard. Wired. Full-width, with a numeric keypad just out of sight to the right. I got it when I bought my first MacBook Pro a few years back, and I'm guessing they'll pry it from my cold, dead hands (hopefully) many, many years from now.

This same basic design has been around for a while, since Apple began moving to the aluminum design language with the fourth-generation iMac in 2007. Which makes this particular design veritably geriatric. Yet it persists. Why?

Because it works. The keys are perfectly spaced, with just the right layout that matches my bastardized-touch-typist style and allows me to hit maximum speed. Practically, I'm faster on this 'board than on anything else I've ever used. But speed is only part of the reason why I stick with this one, and why I'm thinking of stockpiling a few more for the inevitable day when Apple decides to "improve" the design.

Feel is the other one. Not only in how the keys feel when I press them - delightful, mind you - but in how I feel when I press them. It has that just-right feeling that makes it easier for my mind to do what it does best. Which is write. I don't struggle with the keys. Don't ever have to look at the layout. Don't have to think about how to operate this tactile invention. Because the machine you see here, the one thing that a writer touches more often through the course of a day than anything else, by virtue of its design manages to melt into the background and become an organic link in the entire process.

Thanks to this seemingly innocuous device, words snap together in my mind, flow out of my fingers and somehow find their way to the screen. If you watched me sit at my home office desk, you'd probably see me crack a small smile while I work - something that simply wouldn't happen if my fingers were using any other keyboard.

I told you I'm peculiar.

Your turn: Do you use a machine or device that makes you happy? What and why?

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