Jenna Shaw, writer and director at ProBlah, tells Chris Gardner why her favourite gadget is a good, old, ballpoint pen.
What's your favourite gadget?
I am not really a gadget girl at all - I don't own a TV or even a toaster, and my relationship with my "i" devices is hate-love at best. I am always trying to leave them behind, on silent or on off, because I find them invasive to life as I want to know it.
A ballpoint pen, though, is indispensable to my life. Every now and then I am reminded of the fact that writing with ink used to be a rather difficult, messy, expensive process, and without this amazing invention I wouldn't be able to live my leisurely, pristine and thrifty writer's life at all. Or at the very least, none of us would be able to just jot things as will and whim took us! Which is hard to imagine.
(Don't even talk to me about pencils. If you are going to make a mark on the world, do it boldly!)
I don't have a particular kind that I always use, since I never know where I left it anyway and need to have about five likely suspects stashed in convenient locations. I do much prefer fat nibs over thin, blue over black, and proper globby ink over that smooth smudgey stuff, though. Give me a good Bic and I'm golden.
What do you mainly use it for?
Brainstorming! Writing down random ideas, dreams, and to-do lists in the middle of the night, while driving, or having coffee with people. Gesticulating with when talking. Doodling while listening. Clicking while thinking.
But it is mostly useful for the plain pleasure and flow of the physical writing process. It taps my conceptual thinking in a way that typing doesn't, and I can draw little pictures in the margins to remind myself of all the things words aren't quite encompassing yet. It is organic and rather magical, I think.
How would you improve it?
Here is how I would not improve it: By giving it the ability to transcribe everything to a digital format and embedding it with a dictaphone to record and play back the audio when I can't read my own notes, while niftily uploading all and sundry to every device I own to be shared at large.
I used a Livescribe pen earlier this year. We were not friends, despite its manic overachieving.
Some things are perfect just as they are.