"What is a typewriter?" Khat replies, "It is a machine for writing books. One hundred years from now people will be preposterously lazy." (For the rest of the conversation read "Midnite" by Randolph Stow. Khat is a Siamese cat and Midnite is a not-very-bright bushranger.)
The exchange is supposed to be funny. It is funny. It is also serious. I now wonder what Khat would have replied if Midnite had asked, "What is a computer?"
Moving from writing with pencil and paper to writing with a typewriter to writing with a word processor and. finally, to writing with a computer have the potential to make for increasingly lazy writers. It is too easy to fling words on to the page. You think to yourself, "I'll leave that for the moment. I'll come back to it. I want to get the next bit done. It's just an idea. I have another idea. I must get the new idea down." The words whirl faster and faster - until you are caught up and carried along and you have lost control.
I need to go out on my tricycle this morning. It will take me about forty minutes to get where I am going and about the same to return. (The return is slightly uphill. Add five minutes.) While I am riding I need to plan. I need to think. I need to write in my head. I need to say the conversation to myself. Riding is a solitary occupation. If I use the time well then I do not need to be quite so lazy when I return to the computer. I will use my time more wisely. I might even succeed in writing something without being preposterously lazy about it.