I AM NOT A ROBOT…. by Rosemary Lord

Actress and author Rosemary Lord shares many characteristics in common with her character Lottie Topaz, including an indomitable spirit.  So, when she stepped off a plane from England the other night, her body was exhausted and jet-lagged, but her wit and determination were intact. She brings the Writers in Residence blog her thoughts on a topic that will cause many heads to nod in agreement as they read her latest post. Enjoy!


Okay, so I have to copy that squirrelly lettering to prove I am a person and not a robot. I can do that. But the rest of all that trickery appearing on my computer leaves me cold. Well, more like frozen with panic.
            I am a writer. I like to write – and have done so since I was about 4 years old. I am most content with a large legal pad or exercise book, a selection of well sharpened pencils and a good eraser. From there I can happily write away the hours.
            So when our fearless WinR techie Jackie Vick sent our group a carefully written explanation of how to participate in the new blog, I almost had a case of the vapors.
            But I gritted my teeth and followed her instructions. And so, in those early days, for 1-2 hours every day I determinedly followed these instructions to the letter, attempting to send a literary contribution. But Google was one step ahead of me. “Not so fast,” it seemed to say. “Password not recognized” and other phrases that stopped me going further, kept popping up on my screen. I did as bid and changed my password so many times that many, many days later, umpteenth new password added, I ran out of ideas and used a rude word. Google was not shocked, and repeated “Password not recognized.”
            I considered chucking my computer through the window, but thought better of it and spoke with Jackie. My new un-techie system is to simply send my words to her and she does the rest.
            But why won’t my brain grasp this new knowledge? Why am I so resistant? Is it just me? Admittedly, my writing is usually of a world one hundred years past: quill pens and an abacus. Ah, that’s what I need – a quill pen and an abacus.  But I seem to have developed an allergy to this brazen new world of MAC versus PC, Twitters and Blogs, Excel Spreadsheets, Quick Books, Drop-Box and such.
            Now if one is writing a journalist piece with photographs, I can understand all that trickery. And I can actually do that stuff, too, from my journalism days. But it’s the submitting bits of text and the passwords and not really knowing how to get it there. And “what ever happened to that page I just spent 2 hours writing, that has now vanished from the screen?” that stumps me.
            Now I’m not a stupid person. In fact I have several GCEs and other clever things from my English Education at Tiffin’s Girls’ School (consistently in the top 3 best schools in England, my family remind me) to prove it – sort of. So I can’t be that stupid. But it’s all this new techie stuff that is my down-fall.
            “It’s simple,” my 18 year old Australian friend Maddi tells me as she taps away on my i-pad. “There: done,” she hands it back to me – and I am none the wiser. So I feel that I’ve become really stupid… “You’re thinking too hard,” Maddi tells me. “Don’t try to work it out – just do it.” Easy to say.
            But then, when I start writing about Hollywood one hundred years ago, or trotting out facts about my travels in various countries and my adventures through the years, I comfort myself with the recognition that I can do some things. Plenty of things. Just not the techie stuff. I really am not a robot – thank goodness…

9 thoughts on “I AM NOT A ROBOT…. by Rosemary Lord”

  1. Fabulous post, Rosemary. I can relate, especially after watching a toddler swiping his finger across an I-phone like it was as intuitive as breathing. I too am a bit of a cavewoman when it comes to technology, as my non-texting flip phone will attest, but I can't afford to be that way anymore. Writers today have to master more than grammar and plotting, we need to be experts in technology, marketing, salesmanship and much more.


  2. I keep learning new things as this technology progresses. Lots of it is very beneficial. Some is a crashing bore. Some is a waste of time. But I want to keep up so I'm not left behind. And the fact I know how to use a manual typewriter and even a pencil as well as a computer keyboard says I have more skills than some who know only one thing. Knowledge is power.


  3. I know, Miko, we are being dragged (sometimes screaming) into this techie sphere. Headaches galore sometimes. But look at what you achieved by bravely facing it. You would not have had the success you have with “Petal'” – and what a shame that would have been.
    Now back to my not so dark cave….


  4. Yep, my head was bobbing up and down as I read your post. A lot of these new “time saving” devices only switch the burden from one activity to another, but as GB pointed out, the more we know, the more options we have However, as a fellow luddite-in-recovery, I am glad we are not robots. If one day all the digital devices crash (not impossible!), we would have our legal pads and pencils (and candle light) to keep us writing while the techies are paralyzed.


  5. Hahaha! What a great post, and sounding so much like our resident English, world traveled, published, and oh, so dear writing mate. We love you and will gladly help with all those “robotic” tasks you need. Just do that lovely writing about the early 1900's that you do so well. “Lottie” that early silver screen hopeful…oh bring her to the light and let us see her solving those dastardly crimes in Hollywoodland with her clever British wits!


  6. Now, I feel foolish at wining about the techie, robotic stuff that confounds me. Because no matter how frustrating it all is – I should remind myself that I only have to call out to my fellow Blog writers here and they will swoop in with help. GB is a whiz at this stuff – Jackie H and Jackie V, too. But for the rest of us luddites we know we are not alone and have these very patient friends. And we have paper and pencils, if not quill pens and – as GB points out – we know how to use manual typewriters, when the computer crashes come….


  7. You are too generous (and modest) with your comments. I dislike technology after a certain point as well. Those who know it a little better have just made more mistakes and had to fix them! As always, you are witty and kind. I wonder how Lottie would have handled all of this technology?


  8. Thanks for such an interesting post! I myself am not at all tech-savvy, an embarrassing thing to admit, considering that my immediate family largely consist of engineers and IT consultants. I learned to operate a smart phone only because my father forcibly gifted me one and I wanted to keep up with my then 2 years old daughter! Lolz 🙂 There are times that I still cannot believe that I am now maintaining two blogs, along with Facebook, Twitter and a Google + profile! 


  9. Boy, am I impressed: a then-2 year old and two blogs, a smart phone, Facebook and all that! But I am encouraged that you persevered and achieved all that. So, maybe there's hope for me yet!
    Thanks for dropping by – and keep in touch…


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