The Chimerist

The iPad has made me more conscious of my utter lack of talent at visual art than anything that’s happened since the weekend painting class I took when I was nine. I think that’s because tablet-made art, no matter how sophisticated, still seems so novel and so accessible beneath the shiny, shiny glass, like some kind of delightful accident that could happen to anyone: I have this app, too, so why can’t I draw a cherry blossom tree like that?  Obviously the same principle applies here as to actual pencil and paper. It’s not the tools, it’s the ability. And the patience.

As tools go, though, I do like Paper, a simple app which allows you to create, and to sketch and diagram in, unlimited notebooks. Everyone who’s denounced the payment set-up has a point; while the app itself is free, you have to buy the pens and brushes individually, for a total of about $8. And the Rewind feature is cumbersome and limited. I’d prefer an Undo button with endless recall. You’d understand why if you saw the “sky” I tried to draw.

I’ll always be devoted to my actual composition notebooks, but they get cluttered and filled with ephemera, and I can only keep track of one at a time. So I’ve decided to try using Paper for some of my quick notes, outlines, timelines, to-do lists, and ideas related to my various projects and interests. I like being able to sort them so cleanly. 

I’ve also started a travel journal. I haven’t kept any kind of diary, unless my blog counts as one, since I was in my early twenties. Figuring out what to say, even to myself, was too stressful. Excising the stupid things I wrote in them was too complicated. Many pages got ripped out; huge paragraphs were markered over. In the end, I threw all those notebooks away.

With this app, you can erase sentences, pages, and entire notebooks with a quick touch of the screen, so I won’t have any excuse. I’ve made after-the-fact notes on my recent, fun travels and am hoping to keep it up when I’m away in May.

Maud Newton