Thursday, January 24, 2008

Technology Schmechmology -- Eve

I absentmindedly opened a strange email today and downloaded a virus that threatened to scramble all my manuscripts, delete five years of digital pictures that I never learned how to print, and somehow jack all my credit card numbers, “secure” passwords, and other important numbers or letters I’ve typed into my computer. The wicked bug was probably about to assault me with a fever, hacking cough, and flesh-eating sores as well. Jeez! Who in the world spends his free time making these bugs, anyway? Get a hobby, dude.

Although I was supposed to spend the day brainstorming and writing with Jay, I ended up quarantined in my living room, bathing my computer in expensive anti-viral medicines and performing exorcisms and Obi Shaman rituals to cast the virus out. It was an incredibly frustrating day punctuated by F-word filled rants (to myself) and vows to write my next novel on my old Smith-Corona manual typewriter.

I absolutely hate technology. I’d rather chat with friends in a coffee shop than text them silly messages. And I’d rather read a real book made of paper than glue my eyes to the computer screen or listen to the audio version (except for Jay’s book, of course!). I don’t even enjoy talking on the cell phone. And how am I supposed to push those teeny-tiny buttons with my pudgy fingers? Of course, I realize that without technology you wouldn’t be reading this ranting blog post, and I wouldn’t have the pleasure of reading Jay and Robin’s morning emails that always crack me up and remind me why I write in the first place.

Technology is a big paradox. For every positive it provides, there is always an evil. Medical technology, for instance, is advancing so quickly that it’s producing a lot of unforeseen consequences and unintended harm. And sometimes treatments end up causing worse problems than the disease itself. It’s pretty fitting that my YA work-in-progress has evolved from a simple love story into an examination of the benefits and pitfalls of technological advances. And because my main character is a victim of technology gone wrong, she chooses to live a tech-free existence. Of course, since I’m really hating technology today, but can’t seem to live without it, I’ll be living life vicariously through her. As much as I complain about the tech-y world, I’d still have a hard time living without Guitar Hero and American Idol in High-Def on the plasma big screen.

- Eve


Anonymous said...

Seriously, how do you intend to produce a YA novel with mass appeal, holding such a Luddite bent? With whom, exactly, do you think you'll be connecting? Technology is Rock 'n Roll. The kids love their texting, their Twitter, their MySpace, precisely *because* you hate it (or don't understand it), and you're only what, 35?

Colorado Writer said...

I hate the telephone, but I LOVE my laptop. I love my internet connection. I LOVE LOVE LOVE connection through technology in the comfort of my own home and in my jammies. If I had to save only one thing from a fire, it would be my lovely PC. (aside from the children, of course)

Anonymous said...

Please tell me your MC for your new book is not going to be nick-named Uni-bombshell or something like that! You know, we are getting old and out of touch, but we need to think about doing it gracefully. Like by telling the young whipper-snappers that we remember when. . . [insert your own bit of nostalgia here], and we liked it that way. And the "luddite" thing must be genetic because FOR THE FIRST TIME ever, instead of writing on a yellow legal pad to prepare a case, I used a laptop! How lame is that? Lamy

Disco Mermaids said...

Ah, valid question, Anonymous. Glad you asked.

Let me 'splain. I don't really "hate" technology (anymore). I only hated it during those 24 excruciating hours when my computer was sick. I'm over it now.

However, because so many tech-y gadgets of the moment change or improve or even disappear over time, good YA books that want to stay relevant for more than a few years have to find ways around referring to them too much. For instance, "Looking For Alaska" will remain a relevant classic because there is virtually no mention of cell phones, texting, emailing, MySpace-ing, or anything else that may lose its luster. On the other hand, I just finished reading a very well-written YA book that would have been fantastic, had it not stopped me every so often with the mention of kids using pagers. Pagers. Remember pagers? HA!

And luckily for me, my MC has a valid reason for trying to live tech-free for a few months. It's pretty central to the story. Also luckily for me, I'm able to produce a YA novel with mass appeal (and a Luddite bend) because I'm a staggering genius of a writer.

And I'm 30.

CW- I hear ya on the love affair with the laptop. Working in the jammies? Double bonus.

Thanks for the comments, guys!

Eve :)

Anonymous said...

30-ish. Lamy

cynjay said...

Pudgy where?

I think you have to pick and choose your technology. I love love love my digital camera, laptop, email and blogovision. I hate the regular telephone and only carry my cell (that was purchased for me via trickery - "Honey! It was two-for-one, I had to get you one.")when someone has demanded that they absolutely must get in touch with me when I'm not at home. That assumes that I actually know where it is. And if it is charged.

By my ten-year olds cajoling, we got a record player for Christmas. The kids are obsessed with it and play the Ramones, Beatles and old Michael Jackson records endlessly. Now I only wish I'd kept those 300 records I sold to Amoeba records a couple of years ago... Didn't you hear? Records are the new MP3s.

Colorado Writer said...

I still have records in the basement! Yay!

Disco Mermaids said...

Yes, everything old is new again.

I'm a fickle girl. Today I'm loving technology.

If it didn't exist, how else could I have stayed up all night watching Tivo'ed chick flicks? BTW "Music and Lyrics" is the best movie I've ever seen! I also wouldn't be able to procrastinate on my new deadline by taking adorable pics of my puppies and sending them, via cell phone, to my husband, who's in the middle of performing life-saving surgeries.

So, yes. Technology is great. Sometimes. But there are days when I fantasize about moving to a little fishing village in Mexico where there is no phone, internet or Tivo service. OMG. I AM getting old!