I joke with friends and colleagues about what a tech-luddite I am, that I struggle to learn how to use Dropbox and Twitter. I know it isn’t tricky, it’s just that I’m afraid, because whenever I get into it with technology there’s a glitch that costs me at least half a day and major frustration. I’m whining like someone who didn’t grow up with electronic devices.
If you’re drinking something now, swallow, because I don’t want you to burst out laughing and spray your screen: I don’t have a cell phone.
I was so proud of myself for getting on Facebook and making a website and finally this blog. I was giddy like a little kid –lookee, I got it! I figured it out! But no, I don’t got it; it’s old news, everyone’s on Instagram now, and I better join the human race, because that’s what it is, a race. I don’t mean to be sarcastic. Sometimes I get that way when I feel sorry for myself. I’m left behind. Whose doing is that? Mine, of course. Unless I take charge of my tech-luddite schtick I will indeed go extinct as a dinosaur.
Since 2010 my writing workshops were full with a waiting list. But for the last year, not so. What could I be doing wrong? In the spring I had a couple of new students who told me they loved the class and would be back in the fall. My teaching evolves as I work on the next book and attend post-grad workshops and keep current on the craft of writing. I’ve worked with some of the best authors and editors. But something’s missing. Recently, I looked at a colleague’s course description. In the course’s title is the word “Publication.” Students who might not yet know what they want to write about will learn how to write a query letter to an agent. I don’t even know how to do that. I should, though. And scrolling down, under my colleague’s bio is her internet platform information –website, blog, Twitter, Instagram. She is a persona on-line. Prospective students can get to know her.
Meanwhile I hide at my little writing desk in the barn in the boonies of the Catskills. My editor warned me about this after SUNDOWN made the Kirkus Best Books of 2011 list. He said, “If someone puts their hand on your knee, don’t brush it off.” He talked about how I was hiding in the woods. I thought I was supposed to be relentlessly working on my writing; that I shouldn’t dare try to promote myself until I had something brilliant to show. I’m up here in the woods in competition with myself in a contest I can’t win. Going extinct.
But I am throwing myself a life preserver. This summer I am getting an iPhone! I’m going to learn how to use it and take pictures and be on Instagram and Twitter, and I’ll catch up with whatever’s next and new. Makes me sweat just thinking about it. Plus, I’ll be getting a new author photo. Oh, yes, with a lizard. A big one. (Not a dinosaur.) I’ve even come up with a name –I can’t wait, it’ll be so much fun. And I’m not being sarcastic.