Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

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Waxing Nostalgic

I like to think of myself as a forward-thinking kind of gal.

When my VCR died, I didn’t replace it with a new one; I bought DVR instead. Always geographically challenged and unable to read a map,  it’s great to be able to simply plug my destination’s address into my GPS and voila! I am there. Despite its flaws, I believe Wikipedia is a better source of information than the decades-old set of encyclopedias I used to refer to and I would rather search on Craigslist than buy a newspaper. I no longer have a landline; I sleep with my iPhone. And does anybody miss dial-up internet?

I tweet. I google. I skype. I wouldn’t trade 411 for a stack of phone books any day of the week. But there are a handful of items now considered obsolete that I hope I am never, ever forced to give up.

  1. Mortar and brick bookstores and paper books.

 I love my Kindle. There is something magical about having two hundred books at my disposal in less space than a quality paperback. But I still feel a pang when I see my favorite Borders bookstore sitting empty. And even though I know that digital publishing is the wave of the future, I have that digital books never replace paper books altogether. There is nothing like the feel of a hardcover book with a dust jacket in one’s hand. And I dream of seeing a traditionally published book with my name on the cover at my local independent bookstore. I just hope I’m not too late.

  1. CD’s.

 Yes, I have an iPod containing thousands of songs. But I prefer to buy my CD’s as opposed to mp3’s and add them to my music collection that way. I know those jewel boxes are bulky and cumbersome. But I love the cover art and the CD inserts all folded up inside them. I know you can print them out from iTunes and elsewhere. But somehow it just isn’t the same.

  1. Phone calls.

I am like a teenager when it comes to texting; I find it to be quick, easy and fun. But sometimes text messaging feels cold and impersonal. Sometimes I just want to hear the sound of another person’s voice – soothing, comforting, reassuring.

  1. Handwritten cards and letters.

I use email on a daily basis; obviously, it is a very efficient method of communication. But every now and then I feel the need to like to sift through my large box of handwritten communication dating back to the 1960’s: letters exchanged between my grandmother and me and birthday cards signed by aunts and uncles who are no longer with us; correspondence between my parents and me after I left home, went to college and got married; notes from two of my brothers who are also now deceased; Christmas cards with handwritten notes from other family members and far-flung friends. There is something special about being able to touch the embossed designs on the greeting cards or rub my fingers over the individual’s handwriting; it brings cherished loved ones close in a way that emails never will.

What about you? What keeps you from being totally invested in the technology of 2012?

Mary Preston - April 30, 2012 - 4:05 am

I still love to browse through a REAL bookstore. There are two near where I live & I do so enjoy the experience. I can’t walk past without checking out the new book displays.

I keep my Mother supplied with beautiful stationary & every month I receive a letter in the mail. It is detailed & reads like a personal diary. I have kept them all.

Some experiences should never be lost.

Pam Asberry - April 30, 2012 - 6:26 am

You are so right, Mary; browsing on Amazon isn’t the same as browsing in a REAL bookstore. And those handwritten letters are so precious. I saved every letter my paternal grandmother every sent me, and when she died I discovered that she had saved all of mine, too; they are all in my possession now. One of these days I’m going to organize them and read them all sequentially. I might just have the makings of another book there!

Tami Brothers - April 30, 2012 - 6:35 am

I like all four of the bullets you point out, Pam. I can’t imagine life without the bookstore on the corner and a place to sip a cup of coffee, browse through a book or magazine, and wait for The Kid to make his selection.

The CD’s I can do without. We have so many that I am ready to get rid of the whole lot. Unfortunately, my hubby is like you in that he doesn’t want to give them up. :)

Talking on the phone is not my favorite thing to do. But I do like to hear my those voices every now and then, too.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE handwritten cards and notes. I type up a yearly Christmas letter to send to family, then ALWAYS hand write something as well. I think those are the very best things to receive at Christmas time.

Thanks for a blast from the past. Have a terrific day!!!

Tami :alien:

Pam Asberry - April 30, 2012 - 6:38 am

I do a Christmas letter too, Tami, but I agree it is also important to add at least a short handwritten note. And I used to save every single card; I don’t do that any more, but I do hang onto some of them as well as all the kid pictures that come tucked inside. Thanks for your comments! :-)

Emily Sewell - April 30, 2012 - 6:41 am

Great post, Pam!

Pam Asberry - April 30, 2012 - 6:45 am

Thank you, Emily. Glad you enjoyed it! :-)

Sia Huff - April 30, 2012 - 7:41 am

Hi Pam,
I agree, technology is great, expedent but I prefer a more personal touch.
Paper books are a must have in my house. And yes, I have my Kindle. I still have my land line and a bery old fashion pull in the wall phone. It’s the only one that works when we’ve had a storm. I love to talk to family and friends I haven’t seen in awhile. It’s my favorite form of communication because you can hear the tone in their voice and know if someones happy, worried,and generally okay.
I thought about scanning all my paperwork. But what if my computer crashes or someone hacks it. IDK, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’ll hold on to important documents as well.

Linsey Lanier - April 30, 2012 - 8:02 am

Part of me would like to go all electronic, but another part holds on to all the things you mentioned, Pam. Though I’m with Tami about the CDs (and even DVDs). They’re dust-catchers, IMO.

I do miss our Borders. I get nostalgic every time we drive past the empty building. Going to bookstores used to be part of hubby’s and my “dating” ritual (though we were married). We never thought it would become a thing of the past. Our local Barnes & Noble is still open. I stopped in a few weeks ago and bought a book, trying to keep their doors open. I guess as long as they have the Nook, they’ll be okay. :)

Marilyn Baron - April 30, 2012 - 8:04 am

Really loved your post. If you couldn’t tell from reading mine last week, I am technologically challenged. I can’t read a map and my sense of direction is so off course, that when I tell my husband to turn right he turns left. And that’s how we get there. I can’t program the GPS. I can’t text. I do have a Kindle but I also love hardback books and although my book and stories are on my Kindle I’d love to have a hardback book of mine in my hand one day. I love books stores but I think the demand for eBooks is growing. This morning, Barnes & Noble announced a deal with Microsoft regarding the Nook. I love music so I listen to it on Sirius radio when I’m in the car. I don’t have an iPod. I had a few CDs and they were lost when I had my auto accident last month. I love to talk on the phone. I have two landlines, one for personal, one for business, but neither of my children have one. They are connected with their iPhones. They don’t even wear watches to tell time. I am addicted to email. That’s the best way to reach me because I’m always accessible. I’m not so much a note writer although I love to get personal notes and cards from people. I’ve never used an ATM, I like to go into the bank. I don’t pay bills on line but my husband does. I’m slowly catching up, I Tweet, am on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. I usually looks things up on the Internet but last night I got interested in finding out more about the Borgias and I looked them up in my old World Book. Not much there about them so I will probably go on the Internet.

Susan Carlisle - April 30, 2012 - 9:26 am

Nice points.
I’m still a huge believer of writing notes to people. E-mail works every now and then but true thank yous should be written. Walking is sometime better than riding-good for you, faster and gives you a chance to see things you wouldn’t have other wise. GPSs are not always right. Learning to read a map is still valuable.

Dianna Love - April 30, 2012 - 10:44 am

I know what you mean, Pam. I have never given up hand written cards. I don’t do Christmas cards as I just do not have the time each year, but I do mail hand written thank yous, birthday, anniversary, etc cards. I think Christmas cards became a “job” to do during the holidays that I just stopped enjoying, but personal cards are still a joy to me so I try very hard to find the time for those. I do love texting b/c I’m not much for chatting on the phone, but you’re right – sometimes you just have to hear someone’s voice and say something in person.

Maxine - April 30, 2012 - 11:19 am

Enjoyed the post and I’m with you all the way. I like my Kindle so I can get mostly ebooks on it, but it’s hard to beat that feel of holding a book and turning the pages! I do hope the bookstores don’t all close. That would be so sad. Oh, yes, I do have a few notes I’ve kept over the years that mean a lot to me.

Pam Asberry - April 30, 2012 - 11:36 am

Scan your paperwork, Sia, but back it up somewhere safe. If my house were to burn to the ground and I escaped with only the clothes on my back, I would lose EVERYTHING. My desktop PC died last week so this is heavy on my mind right now. ;-)

Pam Asberry - April 30, 2012 - 11:38 am

I visit Barnes & Noble too, Linsey, but Borders was MY bookstore. I guess the reason they didn’t make it is that they didn’t keep up with the technology. Hopefully Barnes & Noble will survive.

Pam Asberry - April 30, 2012 - 11:39 am

You are doing great, Marilyn! One day at a time. One piece of equipment at a time. ;-)

Pam Asberry - April 30, 2012 - 11:41 am

If I haven’t learned how to read a map by now I’m probably never going to, Susan. But it’s true that my GPS takes me on a wild goose chase from time to time; that’s why I usually get directions from Mapquest too, LOL!

Pam Asberry - April 30, 2012 - 11:42 am

I send greeting cards throughout the year too, Dianna, but I love writing Christmas cards; matter of fact, it’s one of my favorite holiday rituals. If it ever gets to feeling like a dreaded chore, though, you can be sure I’ll let it go. Life is short!

Pam Asberry - April 30, 2012 - 11:44 am

Given the choice I usually buy paper books, Maxine – unless my local bookstore doesn’t have it in stock and I just can’t wait for it to arrive from Amazon. Then I buy it for my Kindle – and sometimes I buy a paper copy for back-up, too. Clearly, I’m a lost cause! ;-)

Julee J. Adams - April 30, 2012 - 2:44 pm

Amen, sisters. One discussion my husband and I have had (who is an even bigger Luddite than I am) recently is that book stores are going the way of comic stores. It used to be you found comics and books everywhere, at drug stores, grocery stores and the five and dime. Where the heck have they gone, right? By limiting the outlets for sale, the publishers aren’t building a new younger audience and having to raise prices, further putting their products out of the market. Anyone remember 75 cent paperbacks? They’re like $9 now.

One technology at a time, but let’s not totally leave those things we love behind, ok? Says the woman who brought home five more books from the library sale….

Carol Burnside - April 30, 2012 - 3:29 pm

Love e-books and have authored some, but I still enjoy having a print book in hand. I’m kinda half-in, half-out of the latest technology. Some of it I’m not convinced is an improvement in lifestyle. I just hope the personal touch doesn’t go totally out of fashion. That would be sad.

Darcy Crowder - April 30, 2012 - 5:28 pm

Oh, Pam! The loss of our brick & mortor bookstores is bad enough, but the one that really gets me is the loss of those personal, handwritten notes and cards! I’m a “keeper” too. I have drawers & boxes full of them. I saw where someone had organized their’s into binders….I’ve thought about trying that. I weep for future generations who may lose the fine art of letter writing! All you need to do is visit a museum and read those old letters from ancestors to realize what we’ve already lost.

Pam Asberry - April 30, 2012 - 5:35 pm

Mm, there is nothing like a good library sale, Julee! Do you remember the newsstand in Mt. Carmel from our high school days? I loved the way that place smelled! ;-)

Pam Asberry - April 30, 2012 - 5:37 pm

Exactly, Carol; I think the technology is a nice COMPLEMENT to what we already have. But I’m afraid today’s kids don’t feel that way; digital is good enough for them. Gosh, I’m starting to sound like my mother… ;-)

Pam Asberry - April 30, 2012 - 9:19 pm

The binders sound like a great idea, Darcy. I might consider doing that with my grandmother’s letters; if I use sheet protectors, I could keep the envelopes, too. They represent pieces of history themselves, with five-cent stamps dating back to 1964! Emails simply can’t compare. :-(

Pat Connolly - May 1, 2012 - 1:23 am

Ditto, Pam. I couldn’t agree more. Very nice!

Sandra Elzie - May 1, 2012 - 9:39 am

I miss the book stores the most…then books. I have a Kindle, but I’d MUCH rather pick up a book and read it. If I happen to have a book stolen from the beach…or leave a book sitting somewhere, it’s not as big a deal as if I forgot and left my Kindle.

I have an iPOD, but prefer the music station on my cable or on the radio. I hate texting, although I answer them if I’m out and about, and I love hand-written letters. I also send them.

Pam Asberry - May 1, 2012 - 8:06 pm

Glad you enjoyed it, Pat!

Pam Asberry - May 1, 2012 - 8:10 pm

You are so right about the Kindle, Sandy. I misplaced mine a couple of weeks ago and went into total panic mode. It finally turned up in between my mattress and my head board. What a relief!

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