Wednesday, April 3, 2013

We can think in 140 characters - but can we really write anymore?

The other day, I was telling my kids about my childhood. I mentioned I didn't have a computer.

My son looked at me in amazement. My daughter gave me a pitying look.

"Were you, like, really poor?" she asked gently.

After I stopped laughing I told them, no, I wasn't really poor. We just didn't have that technology - we didn't have Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Vine or  well... heck, we didn't even have a remote control for our television set.

My son, who has a Vulcan mindmeld with Minecraft, was amazed. "What did you" he finally sputtered.

We had an interesting conversation then - wherein I reminded
the kids about nature and books and sports, and all that exists outside of circuitry.

But the talk started me thinking about technology, and the effect our ever-changing world has on writers. We can think in 140 characters. We can text in shorthand. We know how to add links and photos and videos and easily hyperlink to our sites ... but can we still create a beautiful narrative? Can we write poetically, with emotion?

Can we offer the type of prose that gives readers goosebumps, the kind that brings a lump to their throat, that stays in their memory for days?

It's harder for me, I know that. It takes more concentration, more effort to switch gears, to feel I've succeeded.

I have a few days off. I think I'll spend them buried in a few good books, just to remind me how it's done.

1 comment:

  1. Funny--and sad--about your kids' responses but I'm not surprised. We didn't have a microwave or color TV either!

    What did we do? We rode bikes, played hide 'n seek, cruised Kearney street when we were older and played softball. We got OUTSIDE and we weren't fat.

    Some days, I wish we were technology free again. I have found myself on my laptop with my mobile hot spot nearby and even holding my cell phone at the same time because it has a faster connection. Sad. Really sad.

    Great post, Diane.