I long for the days when I could simply write a few interesting if not good lines of poetry. In my younger years I wrote and drew pictures daily. My poems stood strongly on their own, and my sketches were often striking.
Shortly after high school I lost touch with my ability to draw. I must have gotten too busy with school work – or socializing more likely. I kept a sketch book in the first few months of college, but never found time to open it up and draw anything. Eventually it was relegated to the desk, then the bookshelf, and ultimately the trash can (I’m sure – we didn’t really recycle then and that was the early 1990s!)
I wrote volumes in college, both papers and poems. That’s what English majors with undeclared philosophy minors do. (Even though it wouldn’t have done me any good in the work world I still regret the fact that I never declared my minor, despite graduating with more than enough credits in philosophy to attain it.)
My best writing of the college years were my poems. I took a few poetry writing classes in college and they were great, we read poems by published authors and each other and were required to keep a journal. One semester I produced nearly 12 exceptional poems. Sadly, I’ve lost them in the ether. Somewhere they may exist on a hard drive or printed out at a friend’s house, but I don’t have them anymore.
After college, I kept a journal for a while on my old Macintosh. Lord only knows where that ended up. Everything changed in the age of information. My Mac was completely obsolete and it’s probably leaching toxins into a landfill in Kansas at this point. (Again we didn’t know about the finer details of e-waste in the late 90s or even early 2000s.)
I won’t blame the web, but its insidious. I started working at an ISP in 1997 and pretty much abandoned my former self choosing to become a technical person. I had an amazing aptitude for technology that I’d never known. When I was in high school and college I truly believed I didn’t understand linear mathematics or physical science. (I loved biology and geometry, but hated algebra and chemistry.)
At any rate, http://www.dot.com crept into my life and overtook it. I became engrossed in TCP/IP and truly loved it. I was excited about the possibilities of sharing information. That was what first drew me to the web, the fact that it was a giant information sharing session. I was fascinated by the fact that you could mark up text and a browser would format it into something readable and a server would deliver it thousands of miles away.
Somewhere in the late 90s that changed and the Web became a means to the end of making money. Ecommerce sites sprang up, and well, frankly kept me employed for the past ten years, but they were nothing like the original, somewhat naive and altruistic, sites that existed on the web. I always felt like we lost something when that happened.
Now we have Web 2.0. Social Networking sites, blogs (like this one) and all manner of other communications built upon the fabric of the Internet. There are a lot of really creative and mind-blowing sites out there on the wild willy web.
And yet, I think we’ve lost something. In this day and age when we are more fully connected than ever before, I feel completely disconnected from the real world on a frequent basis. And even more disturbing, somewhere in this mass information sharing experiment I seem to have lost the ability to create things with pen and paper. I even have trouble simply taking notes by hand in a meeting.