We Are Addicted

It takes a few seconds to recall the days before computers became an integral part of our lives.  I remember my first computer, a Commodore 128, purchased in the 1980s, before the internet became readily available to the average household.  At the time, I was involved with a small, local community theater group, and I couldn't believe everything I could do with my nifty computer:  making flyers--with graphics!--and writing articles about the group for the local newspaper.

By the early 90s, my then-husband became interested in what a computer could do and bought a much better one--for him.  I was sometimes allowed to use it when he was at work.  I took a correspondence course in writing for children and teenagers, typing away on both the old and the 'new' computer when I could, then mailed my assignments in when finished.  Internet had not yet arrived for the common man or woman.  I left writing behind for a few years and didn't pick it up again until my four daughters were a little older.  In the meantime, I'd returned to reading romance and decided it might be fun to try my hand at writing it.  It was!  I wrote for a year or so, bought some books on writing romance, then discovered some information in one of the books about a national organization for romance writers--Romance Writers of America--and their annual conference was quickly approaching!  And RWA had a local chapter!!  Penny Rader and I had met in the book store where she worked at the time, and she had previously invited me to join it, although I wasn't quite ready for that...yet.

I also learned WE HAD INTERNET.  And we'd had it for some time.  Color me angry.

With the Internet, a whole new world opened up for me.  I found the Romance Authors Page (RAP) chatroom for romance writers, where I lurked for over a month.  Then, on my 45th birthday, I stuffed my shyness in a closet and joined it.  In the meantime, I'd become an RWA member, booked a flight to the conference in Dallas, a rental car and a hotel room.  I also attended my first WARA meeting.  In the RAP chatroom, I met Kathie DeNosky, who was a Golden Heart finalist that year, and we met in person in at the conference.  We still remain very close friends, although she lives in southern Illinois and I live in Kansas.  Had it not been for computers and the Internet, that never would have happened.  Since then, I've met hundreds, if not thousands, of romance writers and count many of them as friends.

Yesterday morning, the sky fell down on me.  I turned on my computer to discover that my monitor wouldn't work.   No writing, no connecting with friends, nothing.  I love my monitor.  22" at my fingertips to see the world.  It even swivels to vertical, so I can compare two documents at the same time.  But now, when I turn it on, there's a blank screen...then turns off...then turns on, only to keep repeating.  I blame the electric company.  In just over four weeks, our power has gone out four times, always when the computer is on.  The first time was for 25 hours, due to a storm.  The second time, barely two weeks ago, power was out for almost two hours.  The third time, earlier this past week, it was out for about 45 minutes.  Then Friday night, with no storm in sight, the power on our block went out, came on, went out, came on, then went out, in less than 10 seconds.  It stayed out for about 20 minutes.  I ended up spending the rest of the evening with my youngest daughter and her best friend, before finally going to bed.  Then came the fallen sky yesterday morning.   I spent most of the day trying to fix the monitor, even buying a new video cable.  It's now Sunday, and I'm now using my oldest daughter's old 12" monitor.  This is not fun, but without it, I'd be found in a corner, huddled in the fetal position.  But it works, and since I'm on deadline and can't live without connecting with my friends, I don't have a choice.

So, yes, I have an addiction to computers and the Internet, but I'm not alone.  On the flip-side, as long as I have a computer and Internet, I'm never alone...except during those power outages and blown out monitors.