Hi folks, sorry I haven't been around online much this week. Truthfully, it's been a tough week. After the Veteran's Day holiday, I had 2 all day meetings and spent yesterday and today trying to play catch up as much as I can, which hasn't been easy considering that EVERYBODY was ready to follow up on stuff this week. Add to that the fact that I'm trying to get the house cleaned for the holidays after work, and I'm beat and busted. It's a good thing I finished those book edits Monday, eh?
Being busy isn't the only reason I haven't been online. Frankly, I've been stuck behind a computer all day, and I just couldn't bear to do it again when I got home. I take my notes at meetings on my laptop, and then we do everything digitally at the office, so I'm behind a desktop the rest of the time. Don't get me wrong - I love computers. I can't imagine how we survived without them and I think that smartphones and laptops are the best thing since sliced bread, decongestants, and indoor plumbing. But after 8 hours or so, those pixels start to get to you. I just have to take a break.
So no, it's nothing that anybody has done. I've just been pretty busy between work and home and need a break from the computer every now and then.
Add to that the fact that Rick had a major assignment come to his school that required a massive amount of overtime, and we've both been beat and busted here. It seems they come up with some insanely huge project every year the week before Thanksgiving that requires them to work overtime. I don't know why they do that.
That's all today. I'm going to log off and try to relax some tonight. Happy Friday to you. I hope you have a great weekend. Maybe we can get some rest and be able to recover from this insanely busy week some over the next couple of days.
Being a member of Generation X puts me in a unique position to see the divide between how the generations view and use technology. Having watched technology integrate into everyday life puts my generation right at the crossroads of the “I don’t do computer” Baby Boomer generation and the “what’s a record player?” Generation Y.
It’s an interesting place to be. I had a record player as a child, although they were replaced by cassette tapes and CD’s by the time I was in middle school. There were still chalkboards in my classrooms, although they were being abandoned for overhead projectors by high school. I hand wrote my papers until I started college in the fall of 1993, where professors required that all papers be typed and printed on at least a dot-matrix printer. And I heard my first cell phone go off in public when I was sitting in a class my senior year in college during the fall of 1996.
We have come a long way. It’s hard to believe there’s a device for everything, and they keep developing new things and coming up with improvements on the old. Now laptops are lighter and faster, and are being slowly replaced by tablets. Books now come on e-readers and phones are smart. I remember a conversation I had recently with a person in their 50’s that was lamenting on how complicated things are. “I don’t need a phone smarter than I am,” she griped, “just make and take calls. That’s it.”
“I don’t know,” I said, “sometimes I need for my phone to be smarter than me so it can keep me from looking stupid.”
She didn’t seem to understand that was the point of a smartphone – to keep you organized so you don’t look like a blithering idiot because you were late for a meeting (or worse yet, forgot about it), or because you didn’t get the e-mail that went out 2 minutes ago while you were dashing up the stairs. To her, it was all a pain in the rear.
Personally, I feel technology has made my life better. I long ago determined that the most crucial tools in my life are my laptop and my smartphone. The laptop because I deal with a lot of documents and it keeps them all in one place and makes them easier to access, and the smartphone because the multiple functions keep me organized and give me up to the minute news and information when I need it. I don’t have to dig through file cabinets or track down a newspaper or television to find what I need. And after years of juggling paper in school I can say from experience that the less paper I have taking up space and giving me papercuts all over my hands, the better. A 5 pound laptop is nothing to carry around when I’m used to handling 30+ pound bird cages anyway.
I do understand the concern that we’re getting too dependent on technology, and am glad I was raised in a generation that learned the “old way” and “new way” parallel to each other. I have nothing against file cabinets, calendars, or newspapers. The digital way just seems more efficient and easier to manage to me. In the end it’s a matter of personal preference.
The digital world isn’t going away – in fact, it will continue to grow – but using it is a personal preference. There will always be holdouts and that’s their choice. For all the talk of going paperless, I don’t think it’s going to happen, at least during my lifetime. There are too many holdouts that cling to the old ways. Heck, I know people my own age that don’t own a computer and refuse to use anything more than a very basic cell phone. But at least we have a choice, and choices are good. We just have to be patient with one another and respect those choices as the world continues to evolve in the digital age.
That’s all for today. Happy Friday to you tomorrow and I hope you have a great weekend.
Last month, an interviewer asked me how I deal with the issue of technology in my writing. Specifically, they asked if I had concerns that including computers, cell phones, and other technological advances would "date" my work too quickly. My answer to this question was that technology is such an integral part of our real day to day lives that we can't afford to ignore it. In fact, I believe that not including technology runs the risk of dating your work by making it seem more antiquitated than it really is from the start. So I choose to use it, and in fact it's such an integral part of my books that I hope readers will grant me the grace of being as patient with this evolving nature of our lives in fantasy as they are in reality.
That's well enough, but as I was working on an article for the Mystery Readers and Working Writers Newsletter, I began to look at the issue from the other end and wonder: Am I as understanding of this issue as a reader as I am as a writer? The truth is, I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, and only started reading mysteries myself in the past 3 years. Fantasy typically shuns technology in favor of magic, and sci-fi is so inventive that I can stretch my mind to imagine any number of advances for the setting. But I wonder how I'll fare as I continue to read in the mystery genre and find myself in that place as a reader where the characters are using devices that were updated last month. I'd like to say I'll be as patient as I hope my own readers would be but can't help but ponder when, say, I pick up Die Softly, by Christopher Pike, and wonder how that story would unfold now that cameras have gone digital and every home has a computer (or 2, or 3, and who knows how many mobile devices). Or Whisper of Death (also by Christopher Pike) and wonder how that story would have unfolded if they found those short stories foretelling their deaths on an e-reader instead of a notebook.I still love these books (and believe it or not, I pluck them off my shelf and re-read them typically once a year or so), but I can't help but ponder how those plots would have developed with some of our modern advances.
Maybe that's not a bad thing. In fact, it might be good for our imagination by helping writers imagine twists on some of those old plots, and readers to keep them interested not only in the new things coming out but the older things that inspired them. For example, I'm sure I noticed that I mentioned 2 Christopher Pike books in the last paragraph. He was my favorite YA writer when I was in my teens, and I credit his work for being a huge influence on the development of Blurry and even my upcoming book, Anywhere But Here (although that is an adult novel).
It's an interesting question to ponder and I'd like to pose it to readers. How do you feel about including technology in writing? Good idea? Bad idea? Or the unavoidable pink elephant in the room that each individual has to decide whether to address or ignore?
Happy Friday everybody, and I hope you have an outstanding weekend.
Hi everybody; I hope you're having a good weekend. I apologize for not blogging sooner, but I had an unexpected surprise: My right wrist and hand started hurting terribly Thursday. Heavy computer use between work and the recently released book were no doubt to blame, and I'm sure the fact that I wrote 3 flash fiction pieces didn't help. I limited my computer use to what was necessary Thursday and Friday, and took yesterday off (thank goodness for my iPod touch, so I could check Facebook and Twitter without too much pain and suffering). It's better today, but still aching a bit - so this will probably be a short entry.
I know a lot of my entries and social media posts of late have revolved around my writing, so I thought I'd give you an update on what's going on in the rest of this corner of the world. Unfortunately, that would be not much. My work is in a (very) rare steady phase. I have a lot of meetings, it seems, but it's routine stuff and not major board meetings. I know exactly why this is: The legislature isn't in session, and with several items pending review in 2012 I'm sure we'll be off and running again when they reconvene in January. So I intended to enjoy this.
I've been lucky in that the church stuff has been pretty level. The evangelism committee is meeting tonight for the first time since May - summer is a slow time for them, and the chairwoman has been working out of state a lot lately, so she's petitioning to keep it simple. Rick has a church council meeting tonight. He was hoping it would be simple, but one of the Pastor's told him this morning that it will probably be a doozy. The July meeting was cancelled because of Bible School, so they have 2 months of work and updates to catch up on. So we both have to go back to church for meetings tonight.
The birds are doing well. Healthy and happy. They all got a bath yesterday and none of them were happy about it. We learned to bathe them before we go out for the day on Saturday so we don't have to get the evil glares until they dry off. It works out pretty good, and by the time we get home they forget how mad they are and are happy to see us again.
It's rained a lot the past few days, which is good because I just fertilized the roses, probably for the last time this season. I hope the rain will result in good late summer and fall blooms. They've done well this summer, which is good. I was worried about how the extreme heat would affect them, but they've done alright and kept right on blooming.
Yes, I'm still loving the new laptop!
That's really all - things have been kind of slow, and I'm grateful for that. Everybody needs that from time to time. I hope all is well in your world. Enjoy what's left of your weekend.
Hi all; I hope you're doing well and having a great weekend. It's been full
of the unexpected for me. My old Toshiba laptop bit the dust yesterday. Funny
thing is, I've been expecting this to happen all summer. I'm not sure why -
maybe because it's been running like crap - but I've suspected it was on it's
last days for a while now. People thought I was being paranoid, or just spoiled
and wanting a new laptop, but yesterday my fears proved true. We went to Best
Buy to get a new hard drive, but found a great deal on a Dell, so we got that
instead. We got the display model so they had to keep it until today to clean it
up and make sure it was alright for personal use. Today has been spent setting
I'm glad to have a new laptop, but the problem is that I had grand plans to
work on my writing this weekend. Well, the only thing I managed to squeeze out
was the website update I planned, as you can sere. Everything else - no. So I'm woefully behind.
Oh well. I hope you enjoy the redesign, and I hope to have a few more extras added later in the week, God willing.
So that's been my weekend. I hope you're doing well and that the new week
starts off well for you. Take care.