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Monday, November 12, 2007

P.J. O'Rourke on distraction

2) How much time - if any - do you spend on the Web? Is it a distraction or a blessing?

I don’t even know which end of a computer one is supposed to gaze into. I’ve never used a computer. I do all my writing on an ancient IBM Selectric. And I do my research in books. Once in a while I’ll hire a college student to pull something off the Internet, if I need an up-to-the-minute statistic or a Lexis/Nexis search or that sort of thing. But that’s as far as my use of the Web goes. This is not because I am a Luddite. It’s because I have - as most writers do when they’re writing - super-severe Attention Deficit Disorder. I can be distracted by a dust mote, a loose cuff button, an unopened junk mail solicitation from The Dizziness From Standing Up Too Fast Fund. I once had a conversation with some fellow writers about this problem. One of them summarized it as, “Gosh doesn’t the top of the refrigerator need dusting?” If I had a computer I would do nothing but play with it all day.P.J. O'Rourke as interviewed by Dwight Garner on NYT's Paper Cuts blog.

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