Forced to Go Low Tech

This weekend had me with moments of childish fits and tantrums as my phone was out of commission. By itself the Samsung Galaxy 3 I carry is out of date and running slower each day. Each time my apps update the machine runs slower to the point I finally deleted the Facebook app and Twitter. Honestly, I wanted Twitter gone because of Trump’s tweets. While one could point out I don’t have to follow that fool, there is no other good reason to use twitter other than seeing what the twitter in chief has to say.

That night I sat at a Royal KMM typewriter that I left at my girlfriend’s house and started to write a story that I have been running through my head for months. While zombie books and economic collapse are prolific in post-apocalyptic fiction I have often wondered how to write a book pertaining to global warming. The problem of a long-term event taking decades to happen left me with a puzzle on how to write a story to fit the event. Typing out the first few lines I think I figured it out and continued until I had three full length, single spaced pages sitting next to me. A modest start but the plot was beginning and the world starting to take hold.

Saturday morning, I left my house without bringing a charger and by the end of the day I refused to run home to retrieve one. I spent the night at my girlfriend’s place and the next morning retrieved my charger from my car to use it while riding with her out of town to visit her family. Five minutes down the road the cheap Aldi product broke leaving me with a dead phone for the rest of the day. I tossed the charger in the back seat throwing a fit and stuffed the phone in my pocket.

An hour later my thinking had reverted back the 1980s. a time when there was no cell phone and the homes we were visiting still have landline phones on the wall. We talked about books and shared oven baked cookies.

With my new job, adapting to the work environment and slightly different schedule has left me off of Facebook the majority of the time and with Twitter long gone I don’t receive annoying notifications in the early hours of the day from our demented president. Running around in earlier hours and trying to change my schedule to fit everything I was doing before has become a challenge. I missed my podcast schedule last week and finally recorded the next episode for Top Ramen today. This blog hasn’t been updated as I would like it to be and my writing schedule has been sporadic at best. Although I will say that the rough draft for my zombie book (as if the world needs another one) Last Call was finished last week. It needs a lot of work but I hope it will offer something different in the market from the carbon copy material that is out there now.  Game Over is still being edited and I’m hoping for an April release, it would be nice to have something out before summer and show something for my time spent on it over the winter months.

The upside to being closed out of the internet loop is not being bogged down with Trump news and being able to reclaim some sanity in my life. There is too much going on, too much news every fracking day, and too much commentary to keep up with what is happening. I have three trump podcast I’m subscribed to and not enough time to keep up with what is happening. At the moment, I’m thinking about unsubscribing to all of them just to clear my head. There was a time that I could turn on some jazz music, place a sheet of paper into my typewriter and start tapping away into a story until I became lost in another world. That is something I need to reclaim. The phone at the moment only has Instagram on it for my short fixes of connecting with the worldwide web. Facebook I currently don’t miss and if anything, I simply need to stick with my author page that has been neglected for weeks.

A project that I started last weekend is an old task that I hope will improve my writing. Many writers of a time long gone, learned their craft by sitting down at a typewriter and copying the works they admired most. Hunter S. Thompson would type out, from start to finish, The Great Gatsby and For Whom the Bell Tolls. He believed there was a rhythm to their writing and wanted to tap into that. Plus, there was the joy of trying to connect with how it might have felt to write those great American novels for the first time. A journalist who befriended Hemingway later in his life, learned grammar and sentence structure by copying Hemingway’s short stories over a weekend in an attempt to keep his journalism job. The practice worked and he later wrote Papa Hemingway in Cuba.

I didn’t read Gatsby for the first time until last year and since then it is one of the only books out of the 176 I read that year which has stayed with me. The writing style, the story that still speaks volumes today, and the fact that it was unsuccessful in the market spoke to me about how a great piece of literature could be overlooked until decades later. Again, I’m forcing myself to go low tech for the sake of improving my writing. The world is massive, with too much to take in. Stepping back and clearing my slate is a much-needed task if I’m going to be able to focus on what is important in my life. I’m thankful for the new job that I have, the security it affords, and while I wonder if it is a mistake to close my windows to a world that appears to be falling apart, I can only admit that as a small fish in a vast sea, there is little if anything I can do about it except continue on my path and maybe write something that might make a difference for those that read my stories.

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