Inspiration can come from afar

First a short blog note before moving onto a new blog post.  On Thursday, I think my blog was hacked.  Don’t want to go into details, but a photo was posted on my blog and I didn’t post it.

Now onto the blog post, which is going to be about books and writing… sort of.  The technology revolution in the past few decades often leaves me a bit bewildered and unsure of how to navigate using new devices, new software programs, and new digital ways of communicating.  The technology revolution happened without me ever wanting to jump onboard.  In retrospect, it’s easy to admit to my insular attitude to new technology, but at the same time many of the my concerns about the disturbing aspects to digital technology  in our daily lives turned out to be well-founded.

We had two sons, who were constantly wanting new computer gaming systems in the 90s.  I didn’t understand why every time a new gaming system came out, their perfectly good gaming system was treated like old junk.  Coming from a generation where we went outside to play, not glued to computer games, I neither understood nor liked how much time they spent playing computer games,

We didn’t buy our first PC until 1997, strictly because I was adamantly against it.  My husband kept telling me how great a PC would be for the kids, but in my mind a PC sounded like  just another expensive toy.  I had this same resistance to getting cell phones too, but my husband went and bought cell phones and cell phone service, then handed me my cell phone.

Part of my resistance to this wave of technology stemmed from my being totally technology-challenged, which created a fear of high-tech gadgets and part of it was my natural reticence about spending a lot of money on “shiny new objects”, which we did not need and were in no way necessary.  In 1990. while we were living in Germany, my husband had gone to the PX and bought a home word processor, which used floppy disks to store information on.  Although, he bought it wanting to store information related to his work and he thought it would be great for the kids to use with their schoolwork,  I quickly became the main user of  that word processor, despite being the one who lectured him about wasting money on a gadget we didn’t need.

The PC purchase went the same way.  I quickly became hooked on using the internet, while my husband never did become much of an internet user.   With cell phones, neither my husband nor I ever became glued to our cell phones and both of us have always preferred our traditional landline phones.  Seriously, once landline phones moved to having cordless handsets, that was about as perfect a phone as we ever needed.

I use my PC for everything from paying bills to learning new craft and needlework by watching YouTube tutorials.  I have dozens of books in my kindle library, but I’ve also found plenty of free classics at other online sites too.  Somehow though, I never bought audiobooks, mainly because they’re pricey and I wasn’t sure I would like listening to them.  Our oldest daughter loved listening to books on cassette tape, that she could read along with the book, as a preschooler in the early 1980s.  We would go to the public library and she would select the books with tapes and then she would sit for hours playing the tapes on her own radio/cassette player.  It amazed me how many new words she learned quickly, reading along.

In May, I wrote a blog post about trying audiobooks for the first time and somehow that brings me to the topic of a recent Matt Lewis interview of George Will in a 38:10 minute podcast interview.  This interview covers a wide range of topics, one of them being George Will talking about his love of writing and his enjoyment of fiction, not just the lofty ideological, political, cultural topics I assumed occupied his thoughts.  Of course, Will is also an avid baseball fan, which he has talked and written about many times, but I had no idea that he loves fiction (at 2:32 in this podcast).  Will said he has about 40 Audible books on his phone at any given time.  Will also said  that after a day of being immersed in facts and politics , it’s really refreshing to the soul to have stories told to him.

George Will became an inspiration to me in my early teens… back in the early 1970s.

My rural school district in NE PA had a Jr.-Sr. high school for grades 7-12.  As long as I can remember libraries have been magical places to me.  I remember starting school, 1st grade, because it wasn’t until several years later that our school district added kindergarten, and that small school library became my favorite place in the entire school.

Trying to decide which books to sign out seemed like a  monumental problem and I recall the school librarian kindly explaining to me that books with the big Newberry Medal Winner emblem on them were always good choices.  That helped me a bit in selecting books, but for me the best help has  always been word-of-mouth recommendations from friends, who have similar taste in books as mine.  Here again, the internet expanded on that “word-of-mouth” aspect to selecting books with customer reviews, blogs and websites galore with genre specific book reviews.  These days, I even add books to my book list, that I come across on cross-stitch blogs, because many cross-stitch bloggers also seem to be avid readers.

When we were learning about American government(7th grade, I think), my history teacher told us to try to read national newspapers and news magazines in our school library, as often as possible.  My father was a devoted reader of our local newspaper, The Pocono Record, so I had already adopted my father’s newspaper reading habit.  My high school library is where I first came across George Will’s columns and his columns inspired me to explore, not only new ideas, but to learn new words.  Whenever I read his columns, it became a habit of mine to jot down ideas or words I was unfamiliar with or wasn’t sure of their meaning.  Later, I would look up the words in the dictionary and try to remember them or I’d check the encyclopedia for explanations of ideas Will had written about. Sometimes, I even had to use the card catalog to find books with more information about something Will had written about.

George Will has been not only an inspiration to me; he’s been a valued teacher.

As I got older and developed my own political views, there have been times when I disagreed with George Will’s take on an issue, but I have never doubted his integrity, his honesty in putting forth his heartfelt convictions, but most of all his dedication to striving for excellence in his writing and analyzing politics.

George Will’s latest book is titled, The Conservative Sensibility, and yes, it’s on my reading list.

 

 

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Filed under Books, General Interest, Inspirations

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