Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pencils and libraries

Yesterday saw my return to the British Library after some months away. I'm fond of the curious range of staff there - every ethnicity, nationality, and gender works away, all most helpfully, some with expertise and others with naive enthusiasm.
I discovered excellent new sources for my J.S.Haldane bio, getting to the point of lateral thinking, the books written by characters linked to Haldane's associates. Then I wielded my pencil. I'm not sure why I've stuck to the pencil rather than tapping notes into my laptop. It saves the cut-and-paste response to notes, lets them be incorporated into the story in a more organic way-yet I know in years to come I'll be like everyone else, transferring stuff from book to laptop. Or maybe the library won't be needed at all, its books digitized and searchable, in the same way I can now search all editions of The Times from my home computer.
For now I'm fond of my pencilled notebooks, each its own personal archive. The fact that most of this morning meant transcribing them into this computer-well, I'd have been doing the same were I still working from a typewriter.


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