I am very excited about having a copy of Literary Machine Professional. I am an avid collector of text materials: scraps of overheard dialogue, dreams, annotations, ideas, feelings, story ideas, etc. I keep these materials in notebooks but the problem is organization. You write your ideas and collect stuff and fill up your notebooks. The problem is that what you accumulate is not very useful. You remember that you wrote down a dream a few months ago and that it contained an image and some dialogue that you would like to include in a short story you’re working on. Now what month was it? You begin thumbing through your journals and maybe if you’re lucky you eventually find it. Organizing the material you collect is a real problem.

Walt Whitman, a writer I have long admired, developed a pretty good solution to this problem.

Whitman, like most writers, collected his ideas and observations throughout the day by writing them down on whatever scrap of paper was handy. Whitman cared not a whit for what he wrote with or what he wrote on. He generally carried a stub of a pencil in his pocket and could find a receipt, envelope or a scrap of newsprint upon which he could write.

When he got back to his desk at the end of the day, he would empty his pockets and then sit down and look over the various scraps of paper and notes and organize the according to major themes or topics. He next added the material to envelops he kept as a filing system. Each envelop was labeled according to what material it contained. Periodically he would empty an envelop onto his desk top and arrange the notes in various configurations and determine whether or not they seemed to point to a poem. He never forced things, and if no pattern emerged he returned them along with any notes he had written to the envelope. He collected widely and revised continually and out this mass of information he was able to cultivate a few gems. He likened this process to a Pyramid. The base of the pyramid represented the collection process and the body of the pyramid represented the process of revision and the apex represented the end process or final work.

The program you created is the perfect method of organizing these disparate scraps of information and is a program I think Whitman would have used had it been available to him. Notes, or reference to notes (or internet sites), can be dumped into LM and then later as the need arises, quickly retrieved for review or revision. Thanks to LM's design, these bits of information can then be reorganized, filtered, compiled or whatever, depending upon the writer's particular needs and eventually compiled into finished works.

— H. T.