I’m free of all the black plastic umbilical cords that can connect me to the world at large. I don’t want to be plugged in!
I have made one concession, and that is my laptop.
When I started to write my books, I needed a portable work station so I could set up at the island in the kitchen and still do laundry, empty the dishwasher, watch TV, answer the door, get the mail, get the newspaper and supervise anyone who needed it. I’m a little ADHD and so it’s pretty impossible for me to do just one thing at a time. My bad.
Now, just as I ready myself to write this article on my laptop, the “pop up” pops up saying I’m down to 7 percent power and I need to recharge my laptop. So make a liar out me as I hunt for my black cord!
Why am I so resistant to the wonders of the electronics all around me? I feel that I don’t want to give up some of my simple pleasures, like the feel of the pages in a book, the beauty of a new yellow legal pad, nicely sharpened yellow pencils, or the ability to come and go without a cellphone going off.
So, for instance, just as I was trying to figure out the correct spelling of “umbilical," I walked over to a shelf of books and pulled off my well-worn dictionary. I even know how to use it! It’s old, stained and has a broken spine, but at the same time is so comforting when I thumb the index slots and rewarding when I find the word I am looking for. A real dictionary is such a pleasure for me.
Along with the paper dictionary I use, I read paper books.
I like hardcover books best of all because I actually read the jacket information before I read the book. There’s so much there: a photo and bio of the author, reviews on the back cover, a list of other books by the author, a dedication, a thank-you note to those involved with the research and production of book, the title page, and the page with the information about the publication data and Library of Congress listing and cross reference information.
After all this, I’m warmed up and ready for the story within. Oh, what fun to step into a new reading experience without the worry if there’s enough power to sustain my reading.
Speaking of fun: What could be better than browsing the bookshelves at Loutit, Fruitport or Spring Lake libraries and finding a newly released book by one of my favorite authors? The only thing more fun is going into the Friends’ book sale room and finding a good read for $1 or less.
I’ve avoided e-books even though I have a Kindle Fire gifted to me two years ago. There is just something unnatural to me about reading on an e-reader. I’m going to cling to my paper books as long as I can.
Recently, I went to see the Fruitport school district’s production of the "Wizard of Oz." There’s nothing like a live production! I watched students I knew transform into Munchkins, Lollipop Kids and main characters. Props fell over, voices varied in understandability, musicians played their way through the score and the faces of everyone turned joyful as they took their final bows.
What an accomplishment for the students, production crew, orchestra and school district. This certainly beats watching a performance on You Tube.
I just went to see The Broadway Divas at the Frauenthal and again the thrill of seeing a live performance was magical. I think the magic comes in the "being there" as the audience reacts to the performance and flow begins to travel between the performers and the audience.
Even during an outstanding performance as this there were the little glitches that made watching it in real time an adventure. What’s going to happen next? Is the whole performance going to go on seamlessly? Wait a minute. Is that a feather flying off one of the boas?
Thanks to Franklin Covey and Staples, I can still have my paper planner. I love it. I have my week at a glance and can look right down the columns from morning to night and see the day’s plans. I even like to color-code my plans for the day.
At the end of a year, I can bundle my year at a glance and use it as a reference for the next year’s planning. I really like that. It’s a diary for me to look back and reflect on a year’s worth of living.
This all boils down to how one wants to live one’s life.
I’m going to live unplugged for a while more. The day may come that all changes for me. But for right now, I’m going to crumble up my legal pad notes for this article, forward this article to the Tribune and unplug my laptop.
It’s time to look at my planner, get ready to go follow the plan and grab my book as I go out the door. This is living!
— By Janice Beuschel, Tribune community columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.