We’re ending the week with this great piece from Robynn! After you’ve read it, you may be compelled to pick up a quill and a scroll!
Our son Connor was recently inducted into the international honorary society, Quill and Scroll. The society exists to promote scholastic journalistic excellence among high school journalists. It was started in April 1926 at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.
I love it that Connor gets to be a part of such a long-standing community of writers committed to good writing but it amuses me to think that it’s called the Quill and Scroll. Connor and most of his cohorts can hardly manage a pen and paper let alone a quill and a scroll.
Last week I was on my way home from Albuquerque and my flight was delayed. Here’s a little something that I penned in my journal:
It’s hard to write anymore with pen and paper. How did I become one of these writers that prefers the computer, the keyboard, the monitor? How did that happen?
I was always a pen and paper girl!
And now here I am stripped of laptop sitting waiting for a delayed plane, inspired to write and yet without my tools—like a knitter without needles or a mechanic without a wrench.
I criticize my own children for being paralyzed without their technology. They’ve developed an insane dependency on their screens. They constantly poke, swipe, tap on screens. They have phones. There’s Facebook and Pinterest and instagram. Games on the laptop. Games on the phone. Games on the Xbox. Games on the iPod. Even the books they read are imbedded into their technology.
When we lived in India I was “sheltered” from modern devices. We did have a small box television and a VHS video player and eventually even a DVD player. Lowell took our laptop back and forth to his office. When it was at home the kids, considerably smaller then it’s true, had games they played on it…mostly reading games or math puzzles. Lowell had Riven and Mist which provided him some entertainment.
Life was busier there. The children were younger. I was kept occupied meeting their needs and really just living. When I was on the computer it was for the occasional administrative detail. I wrote letters on it, and kept up with our business accounts. I rarely did email–we didn’t have internet in our home in those days.
I remember when new people would arrive in our remote city how shocked they were at the lack of technology we had access to. It frustrated them. They were used to google searching everything. Weather.com had always helped them know how to dress. Allrecipes.com told them what to eat and how to cook it. Google told them where to find things and how to locate them.
But now? How were they to get along? Where could find plastic buckets? And how did they get there? In some ways we became their access to information. We were their search engine. We showed them how to dress, what to wear, how to cook, what to eat. We also encouraged them to engage their neighbours and community for what they needed. Aunties next door knew where to get buckets of every size and colour.
It was hard for me not to roll my eyes at the paralysis these new friends experienced without their technology.
That was before we moved back into the land of instant information! The shock of sudden access was almost as crippling. Almost every question I had was deferred to the internet.
Where do I find school enrollment information? Oh, have you checked the USD 383 website?
Where can I buy a whatchamacallit? You could try online.
How do I get a library card? Go online. Check the website.
How do I cook a turkey? Oh it’s so easy….just look online!
It was astounding. Bank online. Pay bills online. Listen to the radio online. Get news online. Get church newsletters in my inbox. Sign up online. Invitations sent via email. RSVP online.
At first it felt so disconnected and crazy to me. But how quickly I became that same person. I depend on the internet in ways I never did before. I’m used to it. I still have a flash of surprise when someone suggests getting information from there but it’s an “oh yes…I should have thought of that” kind of surprise not a shocking exasperation anymore. I find recipes there and advice. The girls spilt dark purple nail polish on our light coloured carpet. No need to worry. The internet says apply rubbing alcohol and hairspray and rub like crazy. They did and it worked!! Thanks to the internet my carpet is restored and my anger diffused! I check the weather in far off places before I travel. I book tickets. I make reservations. I check on friends.
Now here I am. I wait for my flight and I’d like to write but I don’t have my computer. I feel the paralysis take hold. Do I even know how to write anymore? Can I still form the letters? Can sentences play out in my brain without a screen to dance on?
I pick up my pen determined. I can do this—
But before I start I better remove the laptop from my own eye before picking out the Xbox from Connor’s eye, or the Kobo and iPod touch from my daughters eyes!