photo by Gwern derivative work
After more than 50 years of life in America, I have watched our culture change at an ever increasing pace. In grade school we used punch cards for information storage. In my high school days we used a telephone handset modem to connect to the Bowdoin collage computer. You had to take the hand set and push it into these rubber cups to make the thing work. My father bought one of the first digital calculators while I was still in high school. It cost 100 dollars back in the 1980's.
Acoustic modem and phone plugged OlivierBerger Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
As the computer revolution was in it's infancy I would never have guessed that globalization was about to change everything. Our country sang the praises of capitalism and technological advancement. Economists were like gods. Unfortunately we were about to learn that capitalism works the same all over the world. Being on top of the economic tower meant our overhead was too high. Capitalism has no prejudice. It does not care what country it's in, or who makes the products. As the playing field levels for everyone in the world, those of us who are on high ground find ourselves sinking, and those in the low lands are rising.
Our society is now trying to adapt as quickly as it can to the the new rules. Technology is a blessing and a curse. The efficiencies of credit and debit cards makes paying for things so much easier. No more cashing your check at the end of the week to have money for the next 7 days. The banks had a whole slew of tellers to cash checks and do the job of every day banking. Today if I see two tellers on duty at the same time it's unusual.
Opportunities have been opened for us though. In the old days to be a novel writer you had to be picked up by a big publisher. These guys had a monopoly on book publishing. If they didn't like you, you got a new career, or banged your head against the corporate giant in hopes of getting your foot in the door. Technology has given the proletariat writer the tools to get published without them. DIY authors, or should I say, independent authors, are taking that world by storm. The same thing is happening to the music industry. No longer do you have to beg and plead with a big label to get a CD made. Many of us have equipment in our own homes that can give us studio quality recordings. And video…; u-tube probably gets more viewing from videos made on phones than the big networks do. The wild west is here again, but not with horses and six shooters, its with laptops and smart phones. Do it yourself is here to stay. Unfortunately some people are forced to jump into the new economy and, self employment, who otherwise would have preferred to remain in the private sector. The learning curve can be brutal. It's not what we were taught in school. We were suppose to find a good job, get a home, and have a family. With many safety nets gone, and few options, many are shifting to the new economy.
As a life long do it yourself’er, I know you really can’t do it all by yourself. We need each other to prosper in the new reality. I'll help you, and you’ll help me. Even the most self sufficient person cannot build a rocket to the moon by themselves. We cannot solve the global climate disaster or multitude of world problems alone either. By helping each other, we're helping ourselves too.
I’m hoping the new economy draws us into a new sense of community. As we rely on ourselves more, we need our communities more than ever.
I'll be the first to admit I am not a scientist, and this post is strictly my observations and opinions, but I think they ring true. I'd love to hear from you, and what you think. If you find yourself as a new do it yourself entrepreneur please tell me your story.
Mark A Evans © 2016
Why encourage kids to creatively write?
I’m afraid the reason is totally selfish. As an adult in my middle age, I look to what's going to benefit me in my old age. Some would say money is the most important thing. Yeah... not so much. What's really going to benefit me the most is being surrounded by creative, educated, and compassionate people. And how do you achieve that? You put your time and energy into encouraging, and being an example of those values.
The last thing I, or anyone else wants, is an uneducated, unfeeling, and boring people. When I have been given an opportunity to speak with students, I see exuberance and hopefulness. They are already creative and willing to learn. Anything I can do to cultivate and nourish them, is pure joy to me.
I especially like to show kids the self sufficient aspects of do it yourself writing and publishing. Today they have access to platforms that allow them to share their work that I could only dream of as a kid. And not just writing either, we’re talking music, and visual arts too. I believe being able to do it themselves grows self awareness and self confidence. The use of platforms like Create space, and Kindle Direct Publishing, have given me the ability to bring my novel to life. I would not have flourished in the traditional writing paths. I was not planted where I would succeed in that world. I want kids who may have been planted in similar soil as me, to take advantage of these types of resources.
Creative writing is an excellent way for kids to express themselves and grow. Participating in the arts in any form builds confidence. I believe learning to allow themselves to be creative, will make my, and all our lives better. Social pressures from peers and society often squelch self expression. Wether intentional or not, we don't want to force kids into the same old square hole. This is why I also encourage them to seek out sources of inspiration. One cannot find inspiration from the confines of four walls and a cable TV connection. To fill their books with great content, they must first fill their lives with great content.
I will quote from, Mark Twain, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
If kids are not shown the broader world, our society shrinks and becomes small little walled enclaves. This is definitely not going to improve my golden years. I fear wasting away in ambivalence more than all else. Without vibrant people in the world, I cannot live a vibrant life.
Just as I like to promote creative writing to students, I’d like to promote to anyone who has an opportunity to encourage and expose kids to new experiences; please step up and share. It’s not only the morel thing to do, it’s going to make your life better too. A win win as it were. To enjoy the lives we would like ourselves, we must help the youth of today to learn, create, express, and fly.
Mark Evans © 2016