Technologies of Writing
Wallace worked longhand, pages piling up. "You look at the clock and seven hours have passed and your hand is cramped," Wallace said. He'd have pens he considered hot — cheap Bic ballpoints, like batters have bats that are hot. A pen that was hot he called the orgasm pen.
Apparently in another article, something Jonathan had read, Wallace said something else about his choice to write with pen and paper, that his writing was better -- more complex and insightful -- when done with pen and paper than on a computer. Then I find this passage in Betty Friedan's autobiography, Life So Far, a great book, I might add. Friedan was in the process of writing The Feminine Mystique and had a writing carrel at the New York Public Library, where she stored her typewriter. One night after the children were asleep, she had done some reading and took out a pen and legal pad to write (p. 113):
On the living-room couch, I started writing the third chapter of The Feminine Mystique, "The Crisis in Woman's Identity," applying to myself, and the women I'd been interviewing, basic concepts about the self, and identity crisis, as they had not been applied to women. And I got to such a different level of thinking, writing by hand on the yellow legal pad that night -- the crucial chapter in The Feminine Mystique, where I spelled out how it had happened to me personally, a truth that other women could identify with -- that I have literally not touched a typewriter since, let alone a word processor.
I might have to give pen/paper a try, even though it sounds soooo tedious.