Technoglitches

Two modems in four days – that’s what my computer just ate.

I’ve been learning to do without an internet connection, which is interesting, to say the least. It doesn’t interfere with my actual ability to write, mind you. It does, however, put a crimp in communication.

When we first moved to Wharncliffe, the internet might have existed, but only in an academic – or possibly military, depending on the story – environment. Communication was by phone, and long distance cost a lot of money. Skype? Not even invented yet – probably not even thought of.

Marketing was much harder. You had to find a magazine on the rack, read it, find the masthead and address, figure out what they might want or write to their office for guidelines. Querying and submission were done by mail. You might be able to do it by fax if you had a fax machine.

Now I belong to several lists that give me hundreds of market listings, and update them automatically. In addition, I can google any market I want. “Google” was a nonsense word when I began to market my writing. Now it’s a way to find almost anything, if you’re patient and persistent enough.

I even get paid by computer; I was wary of Paypal when it first arrived on the scene, but I’ve used it now for a couple of years without any problems.

No, the technoglitches don’t actually interfere with my writing. They do interfere with my ability to send texts quickly (and paper-free) to readers, get responses back, talk to editors, query about possible article pitches, submit my fiction or poetry to online markets – or in-print markets that take online submissions – and receive notice that my work has been rejected or – hooray! – accepted.

My ex-husband would laugh, I’m sure. He was a computer science student in the seventies, when computers took a whole refrigerated room and were programmed with punch cards. Over time I came to be incredibly resentful of the amount of time a computer can eat. I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to spend that much time on the damn thing. Now I have a three-pound computer that has more brains than that whole roomful of technology, and I use it all the time.

And when something goes wrong, I notice. Oh, yes. It’s not that I can’t write without it. It’s not that I’m at a loss for what to do. But the plain fact is that I’ve become as wired as the next guy, and that most writers I know are equally wired. We don’t even think about it until it goes wrong.

Bit of a wake-up, really. For now I’m still offline at home, and I can only post this because I happen to be in Sault Ste Marie with the aforesaid three-pound laptop and a wireless connection. As soon as I get done this post, I’ll shut the computer and go home, where I’ll be offline until Tuesday night, when my personal geek installs my new modem.

No email, no internet, nothing but my dog, my pottery, my writing, the neighbours who’ve invited me over for coffee, the roses and the koi. Life will be a wasteland. (Snicker.)

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