22 April 2010

manu scriptus

DC Dicta | Technical difficulties at the Supreme Court
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. - who is known to write out his opinions in long hand with pen and paper instead of a computer...

If they're saying Roberts writes his decisions by hand because he is incapable of using a computer, yeah, that's a little troublesome.  But if he just prefers to write by hand then my hat is off to him.

I write most of my day-to-day stuff by hand, including all of my notes.  If I had an assistant to type all my papers up I would do even more with my trusty fountain pen. I find it much more amenable to analytic thought than typing.  Perhaps Roberts feels the same.  In fact, judicial opinions may be one of the forms I'd think most amenable to writing by hand.

I'll also mention Tom Robbins, who writes all of his novels by mechanical typewriter.  He does no editing at all — once he's done with a sentence it stays that way.  Pick the right word the first time, and then never touch it again.  That wouldn't work for me, but it works wonderfully for him, and maybe Roberts has a similar minimalist system going on.

PS The extract that DC Dicta pulled out makes the justices seem a lot less clueless when you actually read it in context.  Here's the PDF.

PPS Seriously, get a fountain pen.  Writing is actually pleasurable when you've got a good tool in your hands to work with.

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