Okay I confess: I’m a luddite. To those of you who know me this is not news. But if you are visiting my site with any regularity you’ll notice I am lax when it comes to website maintenance. I could apologize, but I probably won’t be changing my ways anytime soon, so it would be an empty apology (I’m sorry for who I am but this is who I am. You see? What’s the point?).
So what does it mean to be a luddite? It means I prefer bicycles to motorcycles, kayaks to speed boats, backpacking to RVing. It means I don’t live with my cell phone in my back pocket and weekends are an excuse not to check my email; I don’t jump on the newest technology—buy the latest iPhone, have the best computer or download the hottest app. All that electronic activity would mean being constantly hunched over an electronic device with head bowed and arms held in front like a T-rex. No thank you. I don’t even like playing solitaire on the iPad. Give me a good old fashioned deck of cards any day so I can shuffle the hell out of em and deal em like I’m in Vegas.
But none of that means I don’t appreciate using technology when I need it. Like now. Like having this website. Like texting instead of phoning. Face Timing with my son. Plugging in an address and having directions pop up in seconds. Shopping online (which ironically feeds my luddite tendencies). Plus I worked in graphic design for years, using the latest apps to create digital content. There was a time when I was On Top of Things; a BART riding-latte buying-city walking-San Francisco working-career woman.
But life changes. Circumstances change and we change with the circumstances: A new job, a new love, a new neighborhood. A marriage, a baby. A son in college, another stage in life. I’ve gone through all the motions I was told I was supposed to go through and it has finally come down to who I am and where I am here and now: An artist with a family, a house in the hills, and my own studio in which to create. Which brings me back to the original topic, being a luddite. Because it does tie in with how I like to create, my modus operandi in the studio, and if you’ve stuck with me this far in this age of Short Attention Span Theater, I promise to wrap it up in a few more paragraphs.
It is simply this: I like to make things with my hands, and I like the way making things with my hands feels—to all my senses. I like the smell of printmaking inks and oil paints; I like the scrubby sound of the brush against the canvas; varying the pressure of my pencil on paper to produce thick and thin lines; delighting in the first print after days of carving a new block; the scent of freshly cut pine (think Christmas) or cedar (no. 2 pencil) in the wood shop; the satisfaction of knowing how to use all those power tools (!); and there is so much more that has to do with the immediacy of hands-on work.
To be clear, in the strictest sense of the Random House Dictionary definition of luddite, I am not against technology. I just have an aversion to it that inhibits me from using social media and answering my emails. So while I won’t apologize for who I am, I do ask your forgiveness if it takes me awhile to respond to your electronic messages—I’m not ignoring you (well, in a way I guess I am), just elbow deep in ink or waist high in sawdust.
As ever, thanks for your indulgence,
Ars longa, vita brevis.