I didn’t grow up around computers. Being a child of the 70’s, the first computer I ever used was an Apple we had on loan at school in the early 80’s. Each student had about twenty minutes on it and that was about it. We had the computer for about a week or so in our class, from what I recall. That was in the sixth grade. We never had a computer in school again until I had gone to college. My parents couldn’t afford a computer at home, so we never had one. Besides, not many people in Hawaii really had a personal PC, unless they used it for work. We had a video game system that looked the same, though.
I didn’t even learn to type until my early 20’s. I dropped out of my typing class in high school because my teacher was a bit of a nazi. She would give us an assignment, then proceed to go around the room, looming over me and others while we attempted to complete it. She would also stand at the head of the class and utter rapid fire commands of what she wanted us to type, with no break. For an introductory class to typing, it was very stressful. I would get hopelessly behind and frustrated and she would take her frustration out on us by scolding us whenever we fell behind and made mistakes. It was not what you would call a healthy learning environment. So I dropped the class and took French. Later, while in college, I taught myself how to type on an old typewriter and honed the skill with typing programs on the computers at school. I can now type up to 100 wpm.
Life used to be a lot simpler for me as a writer. In a way, it used to be easier for me to just sit down and carve out some quality writing time. With the internet, came the never-ending possibility of distraction. Whereas before I would just sit down and pour out my soul in a poem or begin a story, I find myself so easily distracted by social media, email, etc. Yet there are also so many bonuses to this technology, as well. That word whose meaning or spelling I’m not sure about? I can simply look it up with a click and some typing, rather than searching for my dictionary and opening it up. If I need a synonym or antonym, no need for a thesaurus, just do a websearch. If I need a word that rhymes with a word in one of my poems, same thing. Instant access to books, movies, facts. The web also serves as an excellent networking tool, if used correctly. So all of this has its plus sides.
I still turn to pen and paper for writing, however. I love the smell and feel of paper, the appearance of my writing on it. I do own a Kindle and a Nook Color, but I also own a ton of print books and will likely always own and buy in print as well as ebook. My mind still rebels a bit when I’m reading on my Kindle and/or my Nook/android phone. Technology has its bonuses though- my ebooks are published thanks to Amazon and Smashwords.
Lately, I find myself immersed in the beauty that is my own little microcosm I’ve carved out on the web. I’ve got my Twitter account with all of my lovely followers who are each unique in and of themselves and I’m really enjoying the experience this time. I was there three years ago and I just didn’t understand the purpose at that time. It is unlike Facebook in the sense that people on Twitter interact very differently. There is poetry in the brevity of the 140 character tweet. Usually, each character carries a much deeper, well-thought message. It makes one really think- Is this going to show what I am trying to convey? It can be comical, it can be deep, but the message must be said with 140 characters!
Whereas Facebook is more about sharing one’s life in lengthy posts, being open, having a laugh, keeping in touch with friends and family and the infamous “Like.” Not to mention the “Like” pages that nearly every company, author, musician, politician, news agency and even Police Department now has. On Facebook, people are also very passionate, and people can also be pretty catty and snarky, fights happen, people get blocked, rumors get started and it’s the hotbed for political arguments. I have often said to myself that if it weren’t for my friends and family, I probably wouldn’t be on Facebook.
A couple months ago I was exploring WordPress and was viewing the page “Blogs I Follow.” I had never before gone to this page, as every blog gets sent to my email inbox. When I opened up the page, I heard something so beautiful, sweet and resonating: music. Then I began to concentrate on the images on the page, various pictures of nature, cascading drops of beaded water over a steep cliff, a kelly green field of grass with wild yellow flowers, a stunning azure blue sky. I began to read the intros to the blogs: one woman was writing about how much she loved someone, another sharing her poetry, yet another imparting experiences of her struggle with bipolar disorder. All of this was simply sheer wonder. A compilation of creativity unfolding before my eyes. I experienced a type of beauty I never had before, and it left me in awe. Humanity is beautiful.
Keep sharing your worlds, everyone! I love you. ❤