Monday, February 17, 2014

Dropping Out of the Technology Race

Just before Thanksgiving, I received my new “toy”—I ordered an iPad mini from QVC.  Having toted an unwieldy laptop on two long train trips, I was desperate for something more packable to take along when I traveled.

The iPad has solved my issues perfectly.  I am obsessed with its portability.  I am in love with its long battery life.  I am enchanted that I can carry it from room to room, even walk around the house while using it.  I can check Facebook and emails.  I can check the weather, read news, visit blogs.  I can look up information on the internet in the wink of an eye.  I can shop.  Anywhere.  It’s SO cool.

However, I’ve also discovered the dark cloud behind this silver lining.  It has shut down my writing almost as effectively as if I had lost all connection to the internet. 

Because you can’t really write on an iPad.  Oh, yeah…I got a Bluetooth keyboard to go with the thing, thinking that would adequately address my writing needs.  Anybody who has tried to tap out a long email, either on the touch screen or on one of those keyboard attachments, knows they are not created to accommodate stream-of-consciousness.  One is so intent on hitting the right keys, going back and correcting mistakes, and trying to figure out how to end run around the auto-complete function that recording the free flow of ideas is utterly impossible. 

I have managed a few short, urgent posts with the iPad, but I only do those when I am bursting with some emotion—indignation, rage, joy—that will not be quenched until I get it down on “paper.”  But anything long or the least bit analytical (and we all know how the words “long and analytical” apply to most of my writing) is a no-go on the iPad. 

So what? you ask.  You don’t necessarily need to write while you’re traveling.  Just keep a paper journal and commit it all to ether once you can get your hands on a laptop.  There are two things wrong with that:

1.)I just don’t handwrite anything anymore, except grocery lists and greeting cards.  My handwriting—never great—has atrophied with the advent of the personal computer.  Not only is it illegible, but it’s just uncomfortable.  And not nearly quick or editable enough.  The backspace and delete keys are my BFFs when I write. 

2.) My eyes SUCK.  I have had the devil’s own time adjusting to my latest eyeglass prescription, and I flat could not deal with trifocals.  (My personal feeling is that trying to cram three different lens strengths into these narrow little lenses that are all the rage, and all you can buy, is impossible to do with any true success.  I had to have the lenses in these glasses redone three times before they even came close to being usable, and that only after I finally ditched the idea of tri-focals.)  So using the laptop, which requires clear mid-range vision, has become uncomfortable, since my current glasses have only close-up and distance correction.  My favorite writing scenario—reclining in my chair upstairs, in the late hours of the evening after the rest of the household has gone to bed—is no longer possible.  If I actually put my laptop in my lap, the screen is in a position where I can’t focus clearly on it.  I mean, I can see it, I can even read it okay.  But it’s not entirely in focus, and I just hate not to be able to see clearly.  AND it gives me a headache.  So I have come to depend almost entirely on the iPad, which I can bring close enough to my eyes to focus properly, for internet browsing. 

And…I can’t write with the iPad.

So it makes me wonder if this is the reason why so many of the fine writers I used to hang with in the blog community no longer write.  We are all of a certain age.  Maybe many of us have found that our age-compromised capacities are less challenged by the smart phone or the tablet—neither of which is conducive to thoughtful, creative writing.  (Which this is not…)

I personally do not want my muse—rediscovered in the age of instantaneous communication and the internet—to now be crushed under the tank-treads of evolving technology.  This might be a perfectly appropriate time to choose a decade…or a moment, actually…and just…stay there. 

Not all change is good.  Sometimes you just have to say, “No.”

So I’m going to commit to setting my laptop in a place where I can write.  Maybe  it won’t be in my lap.  Okay.  Some adjustments have to be made.  And I’m going to take my eyeglass scrip and get some glasses that are mid-range/close range bifocals:  Computer glasses. 

And I’m going to get back to doing what I love. 


1 comment:

  1. I not only can't write fast enough to keep up with my brain, but it hurts to hold a pen for more than a few minutes. And I can relate, my handwriting was never all that great in the first place. It really sucks now as in I know I wrote this. What does it SAY. I have a very nice heavy duty, wooden TV tray that I use for the laptop. It works.