March 26, 2019 - Down the Linux Rabbit Hole


It’s been an interesting month, heh. I decided to take a break from the book for a bit, and spent a good month playing around with Linux, installing it on no less than four computers at home, which makes me sound like a complete maniac. I just needed a break, and wanted to work on something that would be a challenge, but something I knew I could do. Sometimes you just need a few fist-pump moments,” you know?

Anyway, I’m writing this now from my laptop which is dual-booting Windows 10 and Manjaro Linux (I kept Windows for emergency gaming, and just to see if there is anything else I need it for that I can’t do on Linux). So far I haven’t had many causes to switch back over to Windows, which is interesting. Linux can do so much more than I remember.

A big chunk of time was spent trying to set up an acceptable” writing environment. At first I was pretty focused on getting Scrivener to work well across Wine. And while I did manage to get that working, it does look pretty bad (let’s face it, none of Scrivener’s iterations look as good as the mac, or the ipad). So why not focus on something that Linux does do well, instead?

I started looking at Vim. I had worked through the vimtutor a while back, and had found it too much for my word-processing muscle memory. All the commands felt just too alien to me. This time I was determined. I discovered vimwiki. I dove in, enthusiastically. But then I came across these youtube videos: Replacing Scrivener with Emacs and Vim, and Emacs for Writers. Hoo-boy, this was more like it. That took several more weeks to figure out and finally implement.

To top it all off, the icing on the cake, I’ve also discovered Deft, and Zetteldeft, which bring nvAlt and Zettelkasten functionality to emacs. I’m very happy now, though to be honest I haven’t quite been able to completely ditch Vimwiki for Org mode, though it is pretty good. I like too much the non-linear structure of a wiki.

In any case, that’s all sorted now and I’m back on to the book. I’m at the point where I need to step away from the computer and spread it all out on the floor in front of me. So, that’s what I’m doing: making piles of structural sections, and putting the parts of the manuscript in relevant piles, along with notes. I need to move around the pieces in a high-level way. At first I was depressed with how long this process seems to be taking me, but then I decided as long as it was general forward progress, it didn’t matter.

The weather’s getting cooler now; we’re officially in autumn now. There are still a few cicadas hanging in there, and it’s lovely to sit out on the deck and look up into the bush and watch the trees move and hear the Tui, and at dusk, the Ruru. Often, I find myself missing the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest (bluejays, racoons, chipmunks), but the NZ bush still feels like home.