Wednesday, March 24, 2010

In Which I Strenuously Avoid The Subject

by Sophie

Technology: is it making your writing easier or standing in the way of your creative side?

Like my new author photo? Yeah, me too. It's from earlier this month at the Tucson Festival of Books and Life-Size Characters. Seriously, you couldn't walk through the festival without running into one costumed and copyrighted figure after another. There were Star Wars characters, including the requisite storm troopers and a very convincing and fetching Princess Leia, kids' book characters, and the entire McDonalds cast including the Hamburglar and Grimace.

McDonalds, it seems, was a major sponsor of the event. In fact, we parked right next to this van in the Author Parking Lot:

As far as I know, the McDonalds folks haven't authored a whole lot, other than hearty defenses of their products in the face of never-ending criticism from nutritionists, including the delightfully earnest "Tools for Health Professionals." Awww, Big MacD, I don't mean to hate on you; you know I've been a fan from way back. C'mon, I never abandoned you, not even when everyone else was going all Eric Schlosser on your ass.

Sorry, I'm a little's been a month and six days since I had a Diet Coke, and I miss them, despite my brave and continuing determination to resist the evil. So I've had to stay out of fast food joints.

Have you noticed yet that I'm avoiding the subject? Okay, okay, I'll come clean: talking about technology makes me feel dumb. I'm a late adopter. I never have any of the cool stuff. I wait until it's trickled down to eight-year-olds before I try anything. Don't get me wrong, I rely on my iPhone and netbook and kindle as much as the next person, but I'm definitely among the last to catch on. I figure it'll be another year or two before I can try Scrivener or MacFreedom even though I definitely see the benefits. I'm like a scared little kid at the top of the cliffs - i have to wait until everyone else has jumped before I can go.

The ironic thing is that I studied computers in college. Really! I have a degree and all. But I was really bad at it. And I even knew it at the time, but in my stubbornness I believed there was something admirable in the struggle. It was like voluntary Sisyphusism, wherein I imagined I was ennobled by choosing the most tortuous path.

Wow, was that ever a mistake. There followed many years of laboring in misery of the COBOL and Novell varieties. But that's ancient history. I managed to shake it off and now I get to do what I love every day, and I hire incredibly smart people to take care of the technical stuff. But I still carry the sense-memory of those bad days around with me - an involuntary shudder whenever I cross paths with technology.


Graham Brown said...

Sophie - you get to hang out with all the cool characters... Actually... what exactly is a Grimace?

Sophie Littlefield said...

ah, Graham....he's the guy who loves the McD shakes. He started out as an evil guy with four arms and he went around stealing them. then he got all pansy-ass and lost a couple of arms and doesn't scare the kiddies any more. not a very compelling villain now. i liked him better when he was bad

Unknown said...

Oh honey, let me tell you about early adoption. Laser disc player: $1,000!!!! OUCH!!!!! The damn thing still works. We still have a couple dozen LDs. Niece and nephew give me piteous looks every time they see it.

Early iPod, tiny mechanical weakness renders the whole thing USELESS and UNREPAIRABLE. Bought before they dropped the price.

I am by nature a risk-taking early adopter, but craptastic or short-lived technologies have learned me better ways. I get the itch, but I ignore it.

They made guys and gals wander around the desert in the middle of the day in rug-thick, head-covering costumes? YIKES!!!

I can barely write by hand anymore. Still, my inner ear craves the delicious sensation of long, slow conversations about things that aren't consumed via a device (sorry, my adorable nieces and nephews, that's just how it is. Ranting about how nobody but you gets the real meaning of Harly Quinn is *not* conversation. Though it is entertaining...)

Shane Gericke said...

I hear ya on being tech-laggy, Sophie. Me, too. New stuff is incredibly cool, but the early releases are riddled with bugs and bullshit, so I don't buy anything new-n-shiny until it's been out a couple years. Saves me from a lot of headaches. The flip side, at least with Microsoft products: if you wait two years, then you only get a year or two of service out of it before it's declared obsolete and they want you to buy their next Happy Shiny Thing. I resist; still using Office 2003 without all the craptastic (thanks for the word, Mysti!) icons and tabs that I can never find stuff in.

Shane Gericke said...

Oh, Sophie, by the way, I finished A Bad Day for Sorry. Outstanding! I can see why you're getting all those great accolades from the smart people. I hope Stella wins at all at the Edgars coming up.

Sophie Littlefield said...

ha Mysti - i always wondered who bought those early models. Now i know. My friend Roger bought one that actually played disks the size of old lps, i guess they were the very first stab at the technology. can you imagine???

Sophie Littlefield said...

shane, my friend Lisa is stubbornly using something like word 95 or something. she is a purist and she insists its the last decent release. she might be right for all i know. every time they update it, it puts me in a rage for a week because i can't find anything...

Sophie Littlefield said...

oh and BLUSH! thanks for the kind words about the, y'know, book thing:)

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Grimace is the one in the picture with the famous Sophie Littlefield at the beginning of the blog post. I'm sure you recognized her, Graham.

I'm usually a medium adopter, but I covet the iPad something terrible. I think it's because it looks like my best friend the iPhone, but all grown up and burly.

I second Shane's wishes. Bring an Edgar back to the blog, Sophie!

*whisper* (oh, and those LP-sized laser discs you're talking about? those ARE the ones Mysti has. I'm whispering so she doesn't hear)

Terry Stonecrop said...

I'm with Shane. I wait. It doesn't help that I'm a techno-dunce either.

Like the new pic!

Gabi said...

That is a great new author photo. I'm jealous! Doesn't that Grimace ever age? Have a bad hair day? Get caught looking like he slept in the outfit in the picture?

Joshua Corin said...

So while reading your enjoyable post, Sophie, I was in fact drinking from a can of diet caffeine-free Dr. Pepper. Naturally I clicked on your links, including the one you offered on aspartame. It's a wonder my innate hypochondria didn't induce a stroke. Eep.

Kelli Stanley said...

Hang in there, Soph! (and kick ass in April at the big Es ... I'll be there to cheer you on!!) :)

I once dropped pieces of raw steak in glasses of Coke and Dr. Pepper to see what would happen ...

Sorry, Josh--Dr. Pepper was even scarier than the Coke.

Haven't been able to drink the stuff since, which is fine by me, because I'd much rather poison myself with Eagle Rare Bourbon. ;)

And Myst, it could be worse than a laser disc ... we could be talking Betamax and 8-tracks! ;)