Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
“I never write my own papers, I pay someone else to write them,” she said. I heard this as I was scratching out the rough draft of a 15-page essay for a college class. The era was late B.C., just before computers.
In those days I spent many Sundays in a library writing on a yellow legal pad. Only one library near me opened its doors on Sundays. Shortly before those doors opened at 1 p.m., a crowd gathered by the entrance. The place was packed and all tables were shared.
Once such Sunday, I happened to share a table with five high school students. One of the girls in the group began to stare at me. I sensed it before I looked up and caught her in the act.
She was unfazed. That’s when she made her comment about hiring out her writing assignments.
I guess I got slammed. I was expending senseless effort for no good reason. Perhaps she assumed I lacked the funds to hire out a writer. She could not imagine a reason to go through the agony of researching and writing on her own.
But I kept on moving the pen across the yellow sheets. Researching ideas, finding connections between ideas, and interjecting my own ideas into the mix was pleasurable. I love some of the sentences I have written even though no one else cares.
I wonder what happened to the young woman at the library. Did she discover that she couldn’t survive by her mouth alone? Did her job force her to begin communicating with the written word too? Maybe she married and/or divorced well and never needed job-seeking or job-keeping skills.
Or maybe she went on to become a best-selling author and I’m living in the blog dust. That would be something to write about.
Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
As the emergency alert sirens blasted through the neighborhood on Saturdays at one in the afternoon, I looked through the window. When I was young, I waited for my father to come by and pick me up for his four hours of custody time on those Saturdays. Never 5 hours, 3 hours, and not even 4 hours and one minute. My mother made it clear that he had only four hours a week and only between the hours specified by the court system after the divorce.
So I waited by the small, rectangular window looking out the front door for his car. He would be there on the dot at 1 p.m. just as the testing of the emergency sirens started to sound. Or he would not. Then the phone would ring as my mother answered and he told her he was not coming that week. That happened quite a few times.
One time I was surprised to hear my mother and grandmother, who were usually hateful toward my father, express sympathy toward me when he failed to show up. I was left looking out the window for nothing and they felt kind of sorry for me missing out on the time with my father. Sympathy and nurturing were never their strong suit, so I still remember their kind words.
My father found a girlfriend and liked to spend time with her rather than me. I guess I understood. Later when I had a child of my own, he said that taking care of a child was a lot of work. I can’t imagine how he would know. He spent such a small part of his life with me. When I got to be an older teenager, he didn’t come around for over five years.
I try to forget the past, but too often memories flood through my head. Even today, the sirens still sound their alarm on Saturdays warning us of potential disasters.
Life After Blogs
Your life without a computer: what does it look like?
Forgive me Father for I have sinned, it has been 10 weeks since my last blog post.
I really don’t feel too guilty. My blog is my greatest social media foray; limited and only somewhat consistent, but still a baptism into the computer culture. For awhile I’ve been thinking about keeping my words to myself. If not completely, (hence this post!) at least curtail my public spewing. So life without or a reduced computer usage is already my goal.
If I give in to abstinence, I would miss the machine. I can’t just run to it and ask who is dead or alive. Tell me more about a city or country I’m reading or thinking about. Tell me more about an author. Tell me if the library has a certain book. Just like entering a room to turn on a light switch when the power is out, and encountering darkness, I would feel startled at the deprivation.
My friend, my adversary. I would feel abandoned without his useful and senseless information. Even without an electrical outlet in the house, I guess I can’t keep my secretive and introverted self contained within my small room. There are no secrets and too many bread crumbs. There, you have more of me.
Sometimes, we all need a break from these little glowing boxes. How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?
Looking for info
On the Time Wasting machines
Answers come biased
The Internet makes all other sources of information irrelevant. Newspapers are too slow and expensive. Libraries are archaic, also too expensive and slow. Bookstores are dying. Anyway they all provide way more information than we really need. We just need a piece here, a quote there, nothing like the sustained pieces of writing found in these places.
The only information we need is Fast and Free. Everyone is a writer. Everyone is a commodity and is forced to view commodities across the screen. News spreads faster than fire. News and information riddled with mistakes because it is Fast and Free and that is all that matters. Gross errors become truth or at least cast a shadow over the reality. We crave the attention of search engines.
I am leery of the calls to shut down the old-fashioned ways we find our information. Do this and humanity is fully controlled by governments, corporations, and well-organized groups.
The information they want you to have is all that you can get. Each Internet search is custom geared to you and what others want you to know. Those with the most money and power get out their message and obscure other messages.
I know people are being groomed to no longer be capable of reading sustained essays or pieces of literature. Who has the time? I guess Candy Crush does win out. All we want are bits and bytes of info, well reviewed by others to highlight what we think we want to know or what others want us to know.
Think about the danger an out-of-control reading person may pose to those that support the F’ers. Anonymous reading is a threat. If you buy a newspaper, no one tracks your eyes online. If you enter a library or bookstore and read a book that is not attached to online scrutiny, your brain is free. You may stumble outside the appropriate point-of-view geared for your consumption by others.
Of course still peruse the Internet. See what’s out there, some of it is very useful. But realize that it is highly manipulated. Think about what you are giving up when you give up control to your sources of news and information. Yes, I know it’s hard to examine vastly different points of view from your own. But it stretches your gray cells and keeps you free. Or is freedom also an archaic concept?
The library may become the last place to go wild.
Posted in computer, library, literature, media, politics, technology, Uncategorized
Tagged information, Internet, journalism, libraries, news, politics
You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.
A devise/system that demands every person must record and distribute worldwide his/her greatest fear.
Ah, we now have everyone’s fears in our database, excellent.
An infinity spent in a waiting room with no books to read and no chance of interesting conversation. Or books exist within the room to read, but loud, annoying television/video programming keeps streaming into the room. The screen has neither volume control nor off button.
Abortion is no different than clipping fingernails. At least that was what my mother and I believed in the early 1970s.
At the time, the debate raged on as to whether to legalize abortion or not. Pro-choice and pro-life were not, as of yet, the labels for opposing movements on this issue.
In 1969, NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) organized. I think NARAL sponsored the pro-abortion booth that I volunteered at the State Fairgrounds one year. Among the prized livestock and blue-ribbon winning homemade jams, I passed out this radical literature to the fair-going public. The anti-abortion people had their own booth and ventured near us with their bloody photos of aborted fetuses. We just shrugged and kept on distributing our NARAL pamphlets.
Years later I thought about my carefree stance on abortion. I should have known not to align myself with my mother’s point of view. At times my mother would tell her friends and relatives that she had a right to kill me since she gave birth to me. I was eleven at the time and I protested this proclamation. She told me to shut up since she can say what she wants to say.
If a fetus/baby can be aborted at 8 months, is it murder when the mother kills the baby shortly after its birth? Maybe you can push the issue and kill the kid well after a decade of her life. I had to live with a whole lot of crazy so my brain works in weird ways.
But if a woman’s life is in danger during pregnancy, even a late-term one, the American medical community can and will save the mother’s life before the baby. A reversal of this position would be unwelcomed. If a radical pro-life agenda is capable of eliminating all abortions, I’d be working in a booth at the fairgrounds again.
The very liberal and very conservative in this country are disingenuous. They can’t talk to each other and only want to divide and humiliate each other. You can be against abortion, but don’t chase women back into dangerous back-alley abortions. You can be for abortion, but don’t be so flippant about the gut-wrenching feelings others have on the issue.
Today the medical community keeps formerly unviable fetuses alive. But desperate women will seek out abortions legal or not for a number of personal reasons. Compassion must encircle this difficult topic. A safe abortion is far more than a clipped nail, but sadly it is necessary and I hope as rare as possible.