Monday, February 11, 2008

My Dream Lap Desk


I found this while browsing on www.independentliving.com. This site sells items to assist those with a variety of challenges including visual impairment like I have. I was on there looking at white canes but had a thought they might offer something in the way of lap desks or lap trays for the bedridden or wheelchair bound. I have been looking everywhere for something I can use as a desk while sitting on the bed, in a recliner or, during the summer, in a lawn chair outside. None of the very few options I've seen in local stores are workable for me because they assume the user able to see what they are doing all the way down on their lap.

Assuming they have a lap to begin with. But that's a whole nother story. :)

I need something that allows me to raise it up to about breastbone level. Though there are different preferred distances for different tasks. But for regular writing with pen or pencil, I need it fairly close to my face without necessitating bending over too far. Lack of a good surface for note-taking is one of the issues keeping me from taking notes while reading and thus from posting book reviews which was one of the things I set out to do when I started this blog.

I've got well over a hundred book reviews in various stages of production that got set aside last winter as the library closure loomed. Meanwhile I am finishing books at the rate of several per month and not even bothering to start the note-taking part of the review process because I've not got this issue solved. And that doesn't even touch on the dozens of research projects related to my various writing projects. You think I exaggerate? I did three TT last year on the theme of the research projects the library closure was going to impact.

The libraries reopened the week before NaNo started and the week after NaNo I left to spend two weeks with my Mom in Longview, WA. I got home the week before Christmas. Almost the entirety of January was subsumed by the room organization project. It is time to get serious about addressing this issue.

Taking notes or quotes off of a book via keyboard is difficult too as I've not had a way to prop a book up or hold it open or hold it at the right distance from my eyes. The seeming miracle of this particular lap desk is that it can do both--be a writing desk and a book propper. Those bands across the top and bottom are elastic bands for holding books open or loose papers in place. Ingenious.

I had actually been thinking along these lines for the issue of propping a book up. I have a plastic tray that is just the right size to hold a hardback book open on and I was recently wondering where I could get large rubber bands that would fit around both tray and book. Though I was thinking vertically rather than horizontal. I figured, if nothing else, I could get garment elastic at a fabric store and make them. And if I could have solved the problem of propping that tray up to keep my hands free, I just might have went to the trouble.

Now I've seen this and my little imaginary invention seems shabby. But the price range is similar to that of the printer Ed said we might be able to swing within the next month so I'd have to choose between the two and postpone the other. I've been postponing the printing of hard copies of my manuscripts for over six years. So I guess I know what needs to come first.

But I can dream.

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