Tuesday, October 28, 2008

2. rain boots

She had her rain boots on. Her mother had run around frantic all morning, doing this, looking for that, saying mean things about Mexicans. Cindy didn't know what was the matter. Maybe it was because Rosa was visiting her mother in El Salvador. Her mother had even spent five minutes looking for Cindy’s rain boots. And she already had them on!

Her mother insisted. But she was going to wear them anyway. They were yellow with blue polka dots and she wore them any chance she could. They were much more colorful and noticeable than her other shoes. Plus she didn't want to get wet. That would be silly. She was also wearing her wearing her lime green raincoat and she had her pink kitty umbrella too.

It was only drizzling when they started walking to the train station and there weren’t any puddles yet. Her mother was saying swears under her breath thinking that Cindy couldn’t hear but she could. It was something about cabs and foreigners. But Cindy knew not to ask questions when her mother was in one of her moods. She had learned her lesson. She just skipped along and hummed the Strawberry Shortcake song and kept an eye out for puddles. After all, she had her rain boots on.

When they got to the train station her mother held her hand hard and kept her real close even though she knew that Cindy hated that. Cindy kept squirming but her mother wouldn't let go. Not in the train station by the house, not on the platform, not on the train that was full of wet, grouchy people and no open seats, not at the train station where they got off. But then as they were leaving the train station and going out the turnstile one at a time Cindy saw her chance and squirmed extra hard and made a break for the stairs, racing away as her frazzled mother yelled after her and gave chase.

It wasn't that Cindy wanted to make her mother mad. But she was a curious child and fidgety and, as a long list of nannies could attest to, quite the handful. Her mother caught up to her at the top of the stairs where Cindy had stopped to talk to the umbrella seller. He was a nice man. He was smiling and he said that he liked her rain boots and she said that they were her favorite rain boots ever. She didn't need an umbrella because she already had her pink kitty umbrella, but she always liked to talk to nice people even though her mother always said not to talk to strangers.

Her mother grabbed her wrist and yanked her away down towards the street corner. Cindy didn't have a chance to open her umbrella and the now pouring rain started to soak her hair that she had taken extra special care on this morning because today was her day to do show and tell. Cindy didn't even have a chance to wave goodbye to the umbrella seller. But he gave her a sad smile and a wink. And that made her feel less bad.

Her mother was dragging her forcefully through the puddles now but she didn’t enjoy them because her wrist hurt and she wasn't getting to bounce around and make the big splashes because her mother was too busy trying to get her too keep up even though her mother was taking really big strides and Cindy couldn't take strides as big. When they got to the corner the light was red. Her mother loosened her grip and Cindy took her time to look around at all the other people waiting. Just when Cindy saw a really good puddle that was all shining in the faint grey light that would be perfect for her yellow with blue polka dots rain boots because her socks and her feet wouldn't get wet in the least bit, her mother grabbed for her wrist again and marched into the street. But her mother’s hand slipped on her wet wrist and only grabbed her fingers and couldn’t hold onto them as Cindy took a flying leap into the big shiny puddle. Splash!

She could hear voices but she couldn't understand any of them. There were so many flashing lights all over the place. Her hair was wet and she was wrapped in a smelly green blanket and she didn't know where her pink kitty umbrella was. There was a fireman standing next to her that kept asking where her father was and telling her that everything would be fine and there was an ambulance man with a flashlight holding up his fingers as if he was counting. She looked down at her feet. She had her rain boots on.

Monday, October 27, 2008

against the "but I'm not a Luddite"(s) part 1

Yes, some are worried about the future: book sales are down, fewer people are reading, and what they are reading is less and less literature or work of “high quality.”
Yes. And?
The issue here is one of perspective. Change is coming and the winds of change carry along the vast specter of fear. And they are afraid.
But that is not the big picture. I will not claim divine prophecy here. I cannot know the truth of what is to come. But just think of what the next generation will be expected to know: they will blog and twitter (self-awareness and collective therapy even in its most banal and superficial), they will all be amateur photogs (and fill the internets with their snapshots (not all of them will be bad forever, its not like we have forgotten aesthetics, they are only becoming more valuable)), they will be expected to know how to make (and star in) video clips, how to make, mix, & mash music files, how to photoshop, paint the electronic environs that they surround themselves with, and the list goes on.
Our children will be readers, writers, filmmakers, photographers, musicians, producers, painters, and multimedia artists of all stripes. And that is just the entry level. Competency is what will be expected of everyone. Just think of the possibilities for the exceptional, the true artists and entrepreneurs among them. Yes, the mass of the public will be reading less, but that does not mean they will be idle. And the best of us still are open to the limitless possibilities that have always been there. A multimedia world calls for a multimedia artist. If print cannot keep up, so be it. There will always be art to satisfy the crying out of the soul. Times are changing. But nothing ever really changes.