Plaintext Productivity is my guide to simple workplace productivity for knowledge workers.

Plaintext Productivity contains numerous articles and tutorials that show you a smart way to set up your Windows computer for fast and simple task management, writing, and file organization. As the title suggests, there is a focus on using plaintext files whenever possible as a simple, universal format that will never lock you in to a single vendor or software stack.

I recommend some great software, show how to set it up, and suggest a few simple habits to help you prioritize and focus better on your work.

I write a lot of Amazon product reviews and take it very seriously. Some weeks I write more for Amazon than for my blog or anywhere else.

  • Practice: This is one of my favorite stories. It is a complex tale in the guise of a simple one.
  • Senseless: This story is very complex and is intentionally confusing. Despite its sensationalistic topic, I do think the ideas it contains are bigger than its genre would indicate. This is not V.C. Andrews. To me, this world of compromise and of the compromised, is very real.
  • Still Moving: This story is a mess but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. I wrote this for a class and got the most widely divergent opinions about it. You can imagine it as a series of monologues interspersed with action. It could be a movie or a play with a little tinkering. There’s just way too much here to fill a stage or screen or even these few hundred lines without spilling over. But, as every story, it’s an experiment. It’s not perfect, but you will enjoy it."
  • Spin Me: This is one of my first mature short stories and it is probably the most poetic and contemplative I have written. I was bothered by something the summer I wrote it, and I threw all my angst into this piece. Some of it is over the top and theatrical—I totally admit that—but it is all in keeping with the characters. They are deep in the throes of introspection. Everything is up to abstraction and interpretation for Elis, while the world is just an ordinary world to the magical Moriah.
  • Winedark: I really like this piece. When I wrote it, it represented a quantum leap in my writing style. I had stagnated for two years, and suddently, in the middle of Olga Broumas’s writing class, I broke through to something completely new for me. So this is special because represents the first decent thing I had written in quite a while.
  • Trees: I call this a little boy story. It didn’t go over so well in the writing class I was taking at the time I wrote it. Wrong audience, I’d say. All angry young women. They wouldn’t see the wonder in climbing trees, in messy blood oranges, in growing up faster than you should. This story is a little adventure, a parable maybe. I think there’s an essence of my boyhood in there. I climbed trees, or at least tried to, and doing so was extremely important to me.
  • Parade: A silly, sad, tiny, tiny story.
  • New Directions: Olivier, Branagh, and Shakespeare’s Henry V: This is my senior honors thesis at Brandies University. It was awarded the Doris Brewer Cohen Award at Brandeis University in May 2000. That is the most prestigious senior thesis award in the humanities at my alma mater. It is an exploration of the adaptation of Shakespeare into film. I chose to write primarily about two film adaptations of the play “Henry V”, the first by Lawrence Olivier, and the second by Kenneth Branagh. The first section of the paper describes the difficulties in adapating plays to the screen, and the rest of the paper explores those themes through an examination of the two aforementioned “Henry V” movies.
  • Pinocchio’s Social Conscience: In addition to my senior honors thesis, I wrote another academic essay at Brandeis about adaptation. In this case, it was an exploration of Walt Disney’s adaptation of the book Pinocchio for the screen. This essay was my concluding project for my minor at Brandeis University: the Humanities Interdisciplinary Program (or HIP for short). Writing this was a great experience. It was awarded the HIP Essay Award in 2000.
  • First Crush: Really, what more can I say?
  • Rosenthal & Gerstenzang are Dead: This is the first play I wrote, directed, and produced. I had no experience in the theater and no idea what I was doing. I’m glad that I found a group of people willing to trust me on this one. It actually was a big hit. We filled our little theater way past the fire code (you didn’t hear that from me) and we had to turn a lot of people away. I hope that you can enjoy the text of this play without the lively theater atmosphere the Rude Mechanicals created for its original run.

All of my writing is © 1996-2021 Michael Descy, all rights reserved.