Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Proper Tool for the Job

My old computer was so ancient, I joked that every time I turned it on, I could hear the squirrel climb into the wheel to supply the power. I'm not sure how I got any work done, with all the squeaking that thing made. And every time I asked it to save or download or even refresh produced a chance to nap, the computer worked at such a snail's pace.

At long last, I got a new computer this weekend. Of course, being new, it came with Windows 8. I now have to learn how to navigate my way around, something I need to do every time I get a new computer, seems like.

It's important to have the proper tool for whatever job you are doing. A painter needs paint and brushes, a writer needs words and the proper receptacle for them. You don't wash dishes by throwing them in the oven.

One can 'make do' when one has to. In one of my stories, I have a man trying to identify something he finds in an exhaust tube of his spaceship. His first inclination is to simply reach in to scoop some up with his finger. Fortunately, he can't quite reach it, because his next thought is that he doesn't know how it might react to the fabric of his glove. That same thought makes him unwilling to subject any of his wrenches or other tools to contact with the unknown substance. When his (several times) Great-Grandmother shakes a bent knitting needle in his face, complaining about 'defective equipment', he uses that knitting needle to scoop up a tiny bit of the gunk so that he can analyze it.

Before I had a computer to work with, I wrote my stories in longhand. I didn't much care what type of paper I wrote on; notebook paper, typing paper, paper sacks, paper towels, napkins, kleenex and yes, even toilet paper. It can be done.

But it works so much better when you have the proper tools. And hopefully, as soon as I can find my way around these confusing tiles and suddenly appearing menus, I can pick up my pace with my writing.

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