Do not look for the perfect class or textbook. Embrace the one that, despite the parts you know will be boring, excites you.

§ 1

For some reason that was not what I was expecting at all when I looked to see if I had an entry on Vim. On the other hand, I love the fact that I gave it the title “vi”. Typing vi vi to open it was enjoyable. And now, as I reread this, even more so. I recently learned that vi is simply an emulation of an older version of tty than vim is.

I also love that even after 10 days away I still remember the basic editing commands. I am slowly starting to see not simply the novelty but the advantage of writing like this. Not to have to lift your hands is amazing. Moreover, to be forced to think in terms of code and efficiency is better. Best of all is the ability to focus on the writing itself, not the interface. One can use muscle memory in a way that is impossible with a pointer, whether mouse or trackpad.

I also just realized “k” jumps up not simply one line but to the last place the cursor was. This is clever. I also find it interesting that the editing, while absurdly abstract, works in the sense that I can keep writing without having to stop to wonder how I will fix it.

§ 2

I realized the beauty of writing in Vim: I am able to capture my thoughts in a way I was never able with a word processor and pointing device. There was too much movement, too many distractions.

As I tried to continue that thought at least five times, deleting each version, I also realized the same. There is as much value in what I delete as what I write.

§ 3

As an editor it values attention over interface. Your focus is always on the text, not the mechanics of moving around in it. That’s not to say it’s easy, it is not. But it is intuitive in the same way learning to ride a bike is. One starts with the basic moves and builds out from there as need and curiosity demand.

To be able to receive feedback means you can be entrusted with power, because you understand how important the system is. It is greater than our need to defend ourselves and our interpretation of it.

Productivity

Prof. Stuart was right. He explained to me once how he was able to use almost any free amount of time, as short as 20 minutes, to work on a project. He said too many colleagues believed it had to be the other way: to be productive one must have large blocks of free time.

It’s not just that I am in the latter camp, but I realize now how foolish it is. My entire life I’ve used this as an excuse for why I haven’t achieved much. Which is another way of saying I never really wanted to achieve it. Instead, I was happier to say, if I can’t have the time I (stupidly think I) need I may as well waste it.