Sunday, January 17, 2010

Switching Gears

I recently purchased a netbook computer thinking it would be good to have for when I'm out of town. Theoretically, I told myself, I could also use it on the rare occasions when my hubby and I want the desk computer at the same time. But, realistically, how often does that happen? Not very often.

Until tonight. Bill wanted to check some sports scores and statistics. So I relinquished the desk chair and took the laptop into the living room.

Frustration soon set in. I found myself fuming about how small the keys are, how I can't type fast on it, how I'm continually backspacing to separaterunonwords, or deleting numb3rs that pop up where they don't belong.

Then it struck me. My brain was having trouble "switching gears" from one thing to another. Not so unusual for me, really. When writing I can: a) miss something my husband is saying, 2) forget to start supper on time, 3) neglect to make an important phone get the idea. Switching gears is not my strong suit.

Les Edgerton, in his book Finding Your Voice, says, " definition of intelligence (is) the ease, quickness, and skill of one's ability to adapt to multiple environments." Hmmmm. He uses this definition to illustrate how the successful writer will be able to give different characters different voices and still stay true to her own voice. But I'm wondering if somehow the skill can be transferred from the writing bubble to real time.

Intelligence aside (since some might question the level of that!), I would like to be able to switch gears more easily and "adapt" to multiple environments with a quicker response time. Maybe my new laptop will show me how. Like so many things, including writing, it will take practice.


  1. I think it just means that when you have hit your flow, you don't want to be interrupted because creativity cannot be commanded.

    I think as we get older, switching gears is more challenging in general. I think something has to really get our interest in order for us to be willing to make that initial move into the unknown. Or maybe that's my excuse for staying away from all the new tech-y gadgets that I can't be bothered with because I don't care enough.

    Lovedtherunonos and numb3r interruptions. I think you can tell Lee to can it, because you are writing in your voice--and that's what the book is all about. He should save the intelligence garble for a sequel.

    Congratulations! It's fun reading this and hearing your voice come through.

  2. This kind of reminds me of how hard it was for my mom to use a different remote for her television when we bought her a converter box. She would call me and I would have to explain, without a visual, how it worked. Forget it! She is even older than I am (obviously) and there was no way to solve the problem without driving to her house to puzzle through it. But we did! Many times.
    Being able to adapt quickly is certainly an advantage in life but some thought processes are slow and take years until one day a person has an "Aha!" moment. I have to admit though that my best paintings are finished quickly whereas the ones I labor over are the ones I have doubts about.
    None the less, I think that switching from a typewriter size keyboard to a laptop would make most people stumble a bit. What I really hate are the little cursor pads that you have to use instead of the mouse!