Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tech keeps me old-fashioned

I read a lot of biographies. I'm always impressed by the amount of personal correspondence that contributes to the material biographers use. I think that there's something classical and traditional in keeping contact with family, close friends, associates, etc. Of course, you all know that I am enamored with most things classic and traditional.

Nevertheless I have always been, as the band America put it, "one poor correspondent." I've just never developed the habit of letter-writing. I suck at it. Luckily for me, The Universe seems to be conspiring in my favor. Cell phones, email, and instant message programs keep closing the geographic and communicative gap between me and the people I care about. Now I have been recruited into the group-of-friends-written-blog revolution. Technology is making it hard NOT to be in contact with my family and friends. It's not as traditional as a hand-written letter, but it keeps me close.

Thanks for inviting me. I'm glad to be here.



Nick said...

One reason that I really wanted to do this is similar to yours- I've always wanted to keep a journal, but I've never managed to find the time, and every other year when I get up the motivation to start up again I never know what to say. I always end up giving a "travelogue" of the days events. I'm hoping that this way, in a few years I'll have something meaningful recorded- conversations with family and friends, and more of my thoughts as opposed to a travelogue.

Thanks for joining

Jenny said...

That's interesting--one of the things I feel technology has done to our relationship with words is to undermine their historical weight. Our texts are prone to be ephemeral, loading onto computer screens and scrolling through cell phones, and there's the sensation that the act of writing on this blog opens up a flexible, permeable dialogue. Not that that dialogue can't be historical, just that it's not necessarily so.

Cabeza said...

I agree with you Jenny--I suppose my post was somewhat ironic. Technology may draw me closer to my family and friends that have suddenly become physically distant, but it does nearly nothing to provide a tangible record of our interactions. This partially destroys my classical image created by biographies. Then again, we could always print each post and catalog it. Or perhaps in 500 years there will be anthropologists who specialize in ancient electronic data-retrieval. Our blog will be found in a partially corrupted server archive. "Fascinating. We must learn more about this 'Salsa Night.' It must have been a pillar of their culture."

erin said...

I know what you least, I know what I mean when you say what you say. I read Marjorie Hinckley's book of letters awhile ago and I loved how I was a part of her life. In fact, when I finished, I read it again. I loved feeling like I was part of the times and I sat down that night after finishing it the first time and wrote four or five letters on real paper.
My grandma has been wanting to get her history written, but she never kept a journal. She did write letters, though, so we're all typing the letters from her. I've been typing the ones my dad got while he was on a mission in Thailand. The letters are full of high school football and basketball scores, stuff about the ranch and the weather and what was going on in the town. I love it--there're so many things that you'd never think to put in a history you were writing or maybe even write in a journal, but letters are different.
I like what Sis. Hinckley's kids say in the introduction to her book: "In the spectrum of communication, a letter falls somewhere between a conversation and a journal entry. Conversations are spontaneous and real, but they are subject to the vagaries of memory, and our memories seem to be getting less reliable every year. Journals are a gift to future generations, bu tthey are often stilted, self-conscious, and wooden. Although journal entries can be enlightening and deeply personal, they are written not to an individual but to some ethereal "Dear Diary" or to posterity as a whole. Ah, but a letter...a letter is written to a real peron, flesh and blood...Letters always have context. The exist within political and social times..." and it goes on but this entry is too long already.
One more thing, though, Letters are different from email or chat or whatever. Even handwritten letters are different from word-processer ones...not less personal, I think, or better or worse, but cut-and-paste, spell-check, etc. are just not options in a handwritten letter. I think it makes a difference...but that point doesn't really have a moral.

Nick said...

Bwa ha ha!!! You may think this is ephemeral and fleeting and that all this will be lost in corrupted data files several years from now, but I have every post emailed to a special folder in my gmail, and in a few years I'm going to print selected ones off to use as kind of a journal.