Lois Greene Stone, writer and poet, has been syndicated worldwide. Poetry and personal essays have been included in hard & softcover book anthologies. Collections of her personal items/ photos/ memorabilia are in major museums including twelve different divisions of The Smithsonian. The Smithsonian selected her photo to represent all teens from a specific decade.
Sections were settled on the edge of a workspace. Informative but not newsworthy, they’d be spread on my kitchen table and looked at when I wanted; the first segment of the paper was political, or eventful, or reportage insisting on attention.
As the milk was making my cold cereal slightly soggy, I read worldly incidents and continued to wonder why only the years are different as people hurting other people plus power were not really changing. The methods from bows and arrows to nuclear seemed to show that one finger on a button could eradicate en masse without even having to look into the eyes of a targeted person.
My husband’s breakfast news comes from the voice of Alexa; this pretend-human briefs him on local and national occurrences. I continue folding the large newsprint bending into smaller segments; often, with some editorial’s words, I use an orange-color highlight pen to later discuss with him.
A ballpoint plus a highlighter are included in my routine as I discard the universal news and pull out the Arts, for example. I’ll notice, then remember the color photo from my Art Minor days in undergraduate school. I tint many sentences knowing I’ll discuss them with my younger sister, a docent at an established museum. In a margin, I’ll note that this was not impressionist work and why was the artist considered part of that genre! Pulling out decades-old art books, with black and white pictures, I’ll look up the painter. Oh, he was friends with impressionists and, therefore, part via association. I’ll mark up the margin again with my thoughts. That old textbook is also marked in margins but no highlight pen existed then so only my underlines in South Sea blue liquid ink denotes what seemed important or needed to be questioned.
A play is being reviewed; the person traveled to another state to see it performed and wondered why it had not been revived on Broadway. He seemed to want readers to know if any were in driving distance that the trip was worth the effort because the production plus subject matter was so excellent. I’m remembering summer stock theatre so very long ago, just about the time that television was beginning to appear in some homes. A venue in the Pocono Mountains accepted my older sister, then a teen, for her talent. A barn was the theatre; I went horseback riding not far from the barn during an afternoon we’d driven to see an evening performance in which she appeared. Names that were destroyed later by McCarthy were fine actors and accessible people. The place even performed a musical called “Good News” although dramas or comedies were easier to stage. I might have asked my older sister now if she remembered, had she been alive.
As these sections, selectively saved, lower in height, a new batch begins weekly and, in many cases, I tear out a complete page putting it aside for more detailed reading, and, of course, arguing or agreeing in the margins near each paragraph.
I do embrace technology when it either enhances my life or makes me more physically comfortable. If it helps tasks, or offers emotional security, it, too, is welcome. I taught myself to use the first IBM-PC in 1981-82. As a writer, and then college teacher of English Composition, it was worth the struggle, and the 9-pin dot matrix printer was as much a wonder as the very first television set that came into my parents’ home. My students knew nothing yet of this device. An untethered land-line phone, that had a speaker enhancement, allowed me to cook a meal while speaking to someone. The pager my husband carried at work meant instant communication even though it was merely a signal to call home. Air conditioning stretched comfort, and hard-drives with laser or dot-matrix printing altered computer’s difficulty. Who could have imagined useless 78 rpm records, or pay telephone booths being obsolete?
Yes, the traditional newspaper is on Artificial Intelligence. But I can’t ‘save’ the data, or write on that device, or tear out a page with sections so important for the moment that I want to share them. Still able to be delivered to my door, print, for me, is still...well, tangible.