For two days I found myself organizing my documents on my old laptop. I have done my best to go paperless, but I have problems finding what I filed. Maybe it is the way I title my files. Or, maybe it is the way I change the title several times before I'm finished with it.
My problem might be that I use three different computers - my Windows 8 desktop, my small Dell basic laptop, and my older laptop where most of my writing is stored. I had hoped to transfer all my work to the new desktop, but I hate that system - Windows 8. I now hear there will be another system coming out in the fall, hopefully like Windows 7 or XP, because the majority of the people who use Windows hate Windows 8. It is a poor combination of the popular tablet method and a computer. The genius who thought this up should find another line of work.
Also, my new desktop computer has become inhabited by gremlins that pop up and freeze the page when I try to use Google Chrome or try to get into my blogs. Now I avoid using that computer for blogging.
There was a time when I felt I was on top of new technology, when I urged my peers to use the Internet to promote their books and help them build a platform for their work. I even garnered the admiration of a young nephew who was impressed that a person my age, and I was much younger then, administered a couple of blogs.
I have a Facebook and a Twitter account and a Pinterest account and a LinkedIn account and a Google plus account. But there is no way I have time to use all those things. I try to get to Facebook once or twice a week. That is all I can or want to do.
Recently it dawned on me that my favorite computer in my house is the old dinosaur that sits in my studio. It is not connected to the Internet at all. My genealogy program and my Word program is all I use on that old relic, and it faithfully opens and endures for as long as I can sit and use it. I also have a good photography program to use with my scanner. I spend hours scanning old family photos stored in albums that are falling apart, hoping to save them for future generations, and hoping they will care.
I don't remember when we bought this computer, but I smile when I sit down to use it. It is like an old friend that I know will not fail me. No viruses, no mal-ware, no danger of being hacked. Like an old pair of shoes that are slightly out of style, it feels comfortable to me.
Writing is a way to learn about ourselves. Often when I begin, I don't know where I will end up.
The lesson I learned today by writing this post is that it is the Internet that stresses me, that gives me a headache. Less time on the Internet and more time on the word processor is my goal from now on.
The following poem comes from my interest in family history and many trips to old cemeteries. Tell me what you think.
A Southern Family Cemetery
by Glenda Council Beall
The creaking wrought iron gate
breaks the silence on the hill
like thunder warns of summer storms.
I feel the breath of gentle winds
that nuzzle long leaf pines and leafy oaks.
They surround sleeping ancestors
lying in the dust of caskets facing East,
buried deep, blanket green. Lichen-covered
crumbling stones etched with family names
are barely seen through overgrown azaleas.
My great grandfather, John, veteran
of the War Between the States lies
bordered by two wives; Fanny,
dead at fifty-three, worn out
from birthing seven children.
Missouri half his age, presented
seven more to complete his second
round before he passed away at seventy-five.
My family men are strong
This deathwatch lends my mortal
soul continuum. Strung together
by our veins, like roads on a map,
century to century, suffering the same
finality, enduring the same foreverness.
(Previously published in a different version in Stepping Stone, 2000)