So here's the best reason to have a kid -
I like to think that I'm a fairly capable person. I can find my way out of a paper bag. I can draw a straight line. I CAN walk and chew gum. I well be able to do all these things at once, but computer stuff can stymie me - big time.
I'm way better about it than I used to be when I'd stab at a key with a shaky index finger and then touch the side of my mouth, waiting anxiously to see if I've somehow caused the end of life as we know it.
But the kid never had these reservations. He dove right into the first computer we had and never looked back. And like the language of books (that he loved) and the language of music (that he also loved) he became fluent in computer-ese.
I am definitely not fluent in that language at all. For instance, I haven't been able to access my dashboard of my blog for a few weeks. But after only about 30 seconds the kid's got me squared away. Arrgh.
When I started out as a fine artist and a writer, I'd never touched a computer other than Pong, Simon, Asteroids and Galaga. Oh, yeah - and Centipede. Yeah. Centipede.
But now, even though I still draw with an actual pencil and still make writing notes with an actual pen, the magical box that is my computer takes up most of my working time. And some of that working time is supposed to be keeping up on my blog. But since I've already established my serious lacking in computer-ese, I dropped that particular ball.
Part of me thinks it might be nice to go back to those times before the computer ruled my work day. But that's before I remember there were days when you couldn't Google Gilligan's Island to find out which episode had the Professor making a radio out of coconuts, or you couldn't send a jpeg of a sketch for immediate approval or you had to keep white-out at all times near your typewriter. Seriously, I'm never going back to the land before cut and paste.
So that leaves me a stranger (kinda) in a strange (most definitely) land. I'll pick up a few more phrases here and there in computer-ese, pretty much the equivalent of being able to ask in another language where the bathrooms are (most handy). But I doubt I'll ever really be fluent.
It doesn't matter though. A couple of decades ago I was smart enough to have a kid.
And now I think I'll Google where I can play a good game of Centipede in this town.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
When I was a kid I wasn't crazy about kids. Okay, I admit it - I really couldn't stand them. They seemed so, well -
But hahha! Now that I'm old, they're so much more fun. Here's the greatest part about getting older - you don't give one rat's hiney what other people think. You can be the biggest dork you want, run around screaming and yelling at the top of your lungs, having the time of your life acting like, wait for it - a kid.
I am not only so very lucky I get to write for kids but I teach them too. Or, rather, they sometimes teach me.
Here's one explanation why that's so fantabulous: http://therightbraininitiative.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/you-wrote-this-bringing-writers-to-the-classroom/
Happy VERY creative dorkdom!
Posted by Nancy Coffelt at 5:50 PM
Monday, November 01, 2010
When I was a little kid I was all about the Saturday morning cartoons. I mean what's better than an overflowing bowl of Rice Crispies on your lap while you sit cross-legged on the shag carpeting, nose almost touching the convex screen of the console TV?
Actually, now that I'm NOT a little kid anymore I can think of a lot of things I'd rather do on a Saturday morning - namely sleeping or hoping someone who's not me feels like going out to the bakery and fetchin' mama some maple bars...
Mmmm.... maple bars.
But back then one of my favorite shows was a Hanna-Barbera masterpiece called "Wacky Racers". The premise was simple - 11 race cars ranging from Penelope Pitstop's Compact Pussycat 5 to Dick Dastardly and Muttley in the Mean Machine 00 vied to win a different race each week to be crowned the Wackiest Racer. Of course, action, intrigue and hilarity ensued as each villain racer tried to thwart the good guy racers and knock them out of the competition. Go, bad guys!
But who would have thought that 30 years later I'd feel like I had jumped right into that cartoon and become a Wacky Racer myself driving my very own vehicle, The Work in Progress 2010?
Not me brother. Not me.
But writing my latest novel definitely has its similarities to being in those races. Bang! The starting gun sounds and you're off, revving that creative engine, feeling all clever and stuff as you wind your way through your plot twists and turns. But suddenly you're forced to hit the brakes. Wait a minute, another one of the racers, cleverly disguised as a plot element in your book has switched the road signs "Go this way" and "Bridge Out".
No worries, you think, backtracking and rewriting your way back on the road and off you go again, keyboard sizzling as your word count soars like a pegged tach. But what is this? Another plot element has laid a mudslick down and yet another a stretched rubberband between two trees and you're catapulted backward again to fix yet more troublesome spots. Aaargh.
And then, just as you think you're ready to go, to get back out there, something really super bad happens. Your vehicle, the one you patched back together over and over, not only stops running - it falls apart into about 65000 words - all over the place. Double Aargh.
Surprise! Your vehicle was only as good as the patches.
But here's the good news. You still have all the parts of that vehicle. They haven't gone poof and when you've pulled yourself together enough to decide that all is not lost, you can get down the hard work of real revising. Because this time, baby, your Work in Progress 2010 is going to be rock solid from the ground up. And then you'll be ready to roll.
And be ready to be the Wackiest Racer.