Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Portable Academic

Before we left for Japan, one of my colleagues warned the students that we had a couple of long travel days and they should be prepared with a book or music or whatever amused them.  Dr. Francl, he pointed out, starts writing as soon as she gets on the bus. I am a portable academic.

While I was away, I finished and submitted one essay, and dug into the writing of a second.  I didn't make any progress on the book (though I had brought it — or rather its Scrivener instantiation — along), but that was hardly a surprise, the trip was pretty packed.

So what does this portable academic require?

  • iPad with research notes and writing app
  • keyboard
  • stylus
  • shawl
  • reading glasses

That's it.  No laptop. Wi-fi can be nice, but not always necessary.  Same for a thermos of hot tea. It all fits in a small bag (even the thermos of hot tea).

Despite this, there are moments when I imagine being some sort of Victorian professor, with a full office that gets ported about.  Chairs and desks.  Silver inkpots.  A tea tray. A butler who brings the tea tray.

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