Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Opportunity and the stray Sherlockian

I don't know if you ever saw one of those 1950s short films about the future, and all the labor-saving devices headed our way. "Life will be so easy as technology handles all our cares!" seemed to be a running theme. Well, as the clock runs down to the year 2020, the future is here, and what has all of our future technology done for us? Is life the carefree paradise that was predicted by ye olde promoters of machine convenience?

Well, to be honest, lately I kind of miss typewriters, snail mail, and all those impediments.

Why would anyone think such a thing, you might ask. Why favor a machine that printed letters on a single piece of paper, require physically obscuring mistakes with tape or white paint, and used pressure-sensitive ink-paper as your only way of creating a back-up copy, if you weren't just going to risk sending off your ONE COPY in the U.S. Mail . . . that sounds insane, at this point, to miss all that.

But here's the thing: Because it was so hard to write and get published, you really had to want it. You had to want it badly enough to get past every one of those obstacles, and many more. And that, my friends, meant you had to make some choices. You most likely had to focus on the one thing. You were working at a slower pace, and so was everyone else. Opportunity was a very limited thing.

And then, eventually, comes 2019. Creative opportunity is everywhere. Anything you write can go somewhere, reach an audience somehow. Publishing a physical book can literally be done in under a week with under five hundred dollars, if you don't need that many copies, but you don't even really need print any more. If you've got an internet connection and a device of whatever sort to use that connection, the primary limiter of your opportunities to create is probably just going to be you, be it your own fears or your own abilities, or fears of your abilities or possible lack of same.

For someone who came up in a time when opportunities were limited, 2019 is an all-you-can-eat buffet in front of a stray that grew up hungry. And if you've ever owned a stray pet that grew up hungry, you know what they tend to do: Eat anything and everything, even to the point of making themselves sick. But "sick" from a binge of goal-setting, content-creation, or just taking on too many roles is a little different from simple indigestion. Stress on any system is apt to bring out the familiar weak spots, and on a human system, insecurities, fears, self-doubt, you name it!

Tech upgrades always bring new challenges, and Sherlockiana has, like the rest of the world, had one helluva tech upgrade since the 1980s. We've had a few folks in our midst who tried to remain Amish-like as long as possible, and newer folks who grew up app-friendly. The challenge is there for everyone, though, and how we accept it, deny it, or just plain bathe in it is all up to us.

Not sure where I'm going with this, but at this point, just need to stop typing . . .

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