He added a small folding stand and roll-up keyboard. It was tiny, but he could write at coffee shops and libraries without carrying a laptop computer, which what was - at the time - like carrying around a concrete block. The idea of the snacktop was pretty awesome, even if in practice it was clunky and definitely weird. It was doing what our phones would ultimately do. Let us take snack sized devices and do snack sized things with them.
This came to mind because yesterday I heard from a librarian about a term people are using in the library world called...snacking. Not in the sense of eating a humungous moderate number of those chocolate balls from Lindt. The blue ones. No. But in the sense of snack-sized bits of reading. People are reading while they wait in line for things, while they take a short ride on the bus or sit outside a dressing room waiting for someone to try on jeans. (That one could be a big snack, actually.)
This certainly has big implications for libraries, publishers, and of course writers. Or does it?
The thing that caught my attention - besides the fact that now reader's phones are truly snacktops! - was the idea that writers might write to this. Might write something or somehow differently knowing that things might be consumed in small bites.
I think of this in a positive way, mostly, not in a way where new technology might steal the soul of something I write, but as a challenge that could result in some new forms or inspiration. Then I wonder, don't we already have this kind of brief material all around us, rudely injecting us with 5-minute spasms of wonder, fear, anger, advice, joy and unease all day long?
Are status updates and blog posts serving this craving? Or do you think many people are snacking on (gasp!) poetry? It's already short, right? (I'm smiling thinking of my friend Dale, a poet, who is amazed at how many words I can write. At least I have volume going for me.)
All this led me down the path to knitting, of course, because most things do. As a writer of knitting books, essays and designs, and a person whose brain won't shut off, I started immediately thinking about how knitting lends itself to snacking.
Thing is, I don't have a snacktop. I have a plain, dumb phone that my neighbor gave me in a ziploc baggie when my other one broke.
So I don't know.
Are you all snacking?