Monday, March 17, 2014
The end of an era (or The rise of the Luddites?)
It's official. As of the end of today, I will no longer be able to shock people when they mention my home internet. 'Just download it,' says one unsuspecting person. As if telling me to go away and do it myself is being helpful. I almost enjoy the sense of what is coming. 'I can't,' I say. 'I only have dial up at home.' You can see the surprise on their faces. Every time, it's the same. Confusion. Dismay. Incomprehension. 'I thought that had gone by the wayside?' one said. 'No. I've still got it. Had it for five years.' That last bit was intended to shock them some more. It works. 'How do you cope?' they say, heartfelt in their angst for me, the digitally deprived. 'I use it at work if I need it. Or I wait.' Wait. That four letter word is the end of them. The conversation stalls, until I take pity and change the subject. So it is with great sadness that I shall no longer be able to use this phrase. I realised that I had slid into the digital dynamic when I noticed my latest monthly internet bill, and worked out that I hadn't actually taken out my landline, stuck it in my laptop, hit several keys and waited for that familiar screeching tone for at least three months. Why not, I wondered. Then it dawned on me that my smart phone, the cheapest, prepaid I could find, the one I got under sufferance so I could stay abreast of the e-tide while not paying a fortune, well it also had a cheap internet option which I had used now and then, whenever I needed it in a hurry. I just didn't need dialup anymore. Not that I'm going to change my habits. Right now, I'm typing this at the local library. But it also got me thinking. I'm having leave from work, with the aim of finishing a sequel to Road Wench. This past month has seen me take the book ahead in leaps and bounds, and I have kneaded it into the shape of a full story. DRAFT ONE IS DONE! I want to call out loud to share my joy at this progress, but I'd better not. As I said, I am in a library. However, the impending cutting of the modem line got me thinking. Maybe my technological home setup has helped me achieve my recent writing goals? I wonder whether I would have got so much done if I had ready access to blogs and research tools online at any minute of the day? I've had to discipline myself, and yes here's that word again: WAIT, so that any online research is kept until the afternoon when I permit myself a library visit. The morning has been designated for writing, the evening I'm allowed to edit if I feel like it, but I've delineated the dead zone of the afternoon when I'm most likely to nap as the only time to go online. And I really think it's helped. So even though my plan is to get better internet access on my mobile, I am going to put that off until later. Once I've rewritten the first draft, and written a synopsis, and so on. I suspect that the latent Luddite in me has been the key to finishing book two. I will miss shocking people with my dial up revelation, but perhaps this has been a more useful revelation about my writing process. That's all for now. The library is about to shut: another enforced deadline.