Make Good Art

“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.”

Neil Gaiman


I’m a pretty big fan of technology in general, but I’m not obsessive about it. I like for technology to have real, tangible benefits, not just be techie for techie’s sake. I have an iPhone, but not the newest, biggest one. I have a Mac laptop, but not an iPad. And for years (okay, decades) I’ve been using a drip coffee maker that I could program at night and have a pot ready before my alarm even goes off.

Over the holidays, a visiting cousin casually mentioned that he had switched to a French press for his morning coffee years ago. At the time I only knew that it was a different method for making coffee but not much more. A few weeks and a bit of research later, and I am now a lifelong convert to the French press. These have been, hands down, the best cups of coffee I’ve ever made. Even the ones that don’t turn out good are better than anything that ever came out of my automatic drip machine. There’s something in the process, whether its the fact that the beans steep longer or the oils don’t get caught in the paper filter, that just make this coffee excellent.  I like technology when it has real and tangible benefits but some things are better without it.

While I was putting the drip machine away, I started thinking about where in my life technology had been allowed to roam free compared to the areas where I preferred the “old fashioned” way of doing things.

When I got a Wacom tablet a few years back, I used it all the time.  I could work in Photoshop, Illustrator, even surfing the web! Soon I found myself using it for sketches. But there was something off.  Something lacking. And lately I have found myself reaching not for the stylus when I want to doodle, but for a graphite pencil and sketchpad.  For me, this is one example of new technology not being as good as the analog tools it is there to replace.

We hear this debate going on between the Kindle (or pick your eReader) versus paper and ink books; Wii Fit versus taking a walk outside; a Skype conference versus a lunch meeting. Different people will have different views on which areas of their lives are okay to give over to the latest and greatest technology and which should be held back, done in a more humble, outdated manner. In my case it comes down to a hard cover book to read to my son for his bedtime story, pencil and paper for sketching, and my new French press for an old way of making coffee.

What bastions of obsolescence are you proud to call your own?

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