So I got my Kindle in the mail the other day and immediately set about learning how to use it. I figured out how change the font size and orientation, how to access the pre-loaded dictionaries, and how to make it talk to me in a male or female voice. I even managed to set up an account at Amazon and get my first book (a collection of the complete works of Jane Austen, naturally) sent directly to the Kindle over wireless internet service. It wasn’t that hard, but I was still slightly impressed with myself. And it reminded me of an old blog post I’d written a couple of years back:
We’ve all heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Baloney! Although I may not be exactly old, I’m undeniably middle-aged. And I think I’ve learned more in the last few years than during almost any other period of my life. For example, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the art of writing – something I had no formal training in before. I’ve discovered what’s involved in trying to get a book published (agents, editors, query letters, literary conferences, etc.). I decided to study Italian after a recent trip to Venice. Perhaps most challenging of all, however, I’ve tackled some of the mysteries of the electronic age: mastering e-mail and my laptop, starting a blog, and constructing a soon-to-be-launched website. Those of us who didn’t grow up with these technologies are at a distinct disadvantage, I admit. But with enough time, determination, and a little patience from the younger generation, we can march into the 21st century with our heads held high (which is much more dignified than being dragged, kicking and screaming, after all). “Is it worth the extra trouble and effort?” you may ask. Yes, it’s exciting to learn new things and, even if nothing else comes of it, we’re keeping brain cells alive! That’s pretty important for old dogs.
Since then, of course, the learning curve has only gotten steeper. I will soon be finding out how to format a novel (The Darcys of Pemberley) for Kindle and for print-on-demand, not to mention producing cover art for the same! When I’m feeling a little lazy, I wish I could just let somebody else do all that technical stuff for me. But what would Jane Austen say to you about me then? Hmm. Probably something like this:
“…pity Shannon’s deficiency. And remember that, if you are ever so forward and clever yourselves, you should always be modest; for, much as you know already, there is a great deal more for you to learn.” “Yes, I know there is … But I must tell you another thing about Shannon, so odd and so stupid. Do you know, she says she does not want to learn either Kindle formatting or cover art production!” “To be sure, my dear, that is very stupid indeed, and shows a great want of genius …” (paraphrased from Mansfield Park, chapter 2)
There we have it. You are to pity my deficiency. Meanwhile, I will forge ahead, striving to prove myself not totally wanting in genius.