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Care for a Sprout?

Deanna Hershiser

A while ago I read a post by David Pierce featuring the latest writerly technologies. Pierce implied we can't go back now to pen and paper, not when smartphone applications and so on exist. What kind of dufuses stick with old school? This year began for me with a fresh Moleskine and gel pen. I'm halfway through the little notebook now, jotting random ideas when they surge onto my brain's shore. I did this when my kids were little, capturing gems that I can always find preserved in my file drawer when I want them. Things like my daughter, at four, telling me we should really say "last day" and "last night," or else go with "yesterday" and "yesternight." Shakespeare would have been proud, I thought.

I'm sure the savvy Pierce would point out we now have mommy blogs for that. You can record your child's wisdom plus pictures and music -- all kinds of media, in fact, to make the best memories of moments.

This is true. I follow several amazing blogs by creative young women, most with kids. But the one or two or three I like best contain an interesting element that goes against the exhortation to leave old ways behind. They're by women who make use of technology while learning to sprout quinoa and ferment kombucha and cook and preserve and create and savor life by methods older school than I had imagined.

Then there's my son and survival info. He has found some good sites, like Survival Blog. Great for if you ever want to live off the grid. Or if we someday have to.

This is what gets me: middle of the night, waking to those lurking what-ifs, I drift into wondering. We never know where the country and economy are heading. We live on a planet brightening its orbit with electricity, but after a hundred years plus, we're tethered to that power source, albeit wirelessly. In the blink of a sunspot, everything could switch off, and we would really have to learn a few 19th-century survival methods. (Which reminds me, I need to jot down addresses of my blogging-mama friends whose homes are closest to mine. I'm glad they're learning what my grandma knew.)

Never happen, you say. And on spring afternoons, sunshiny with exercise after I get myself off the computer, I'm with you. I haven't sprouted any quinoa yet. But I'm still writing in spare moments on paper with pen and resting easier about retaining my little words and insights.

Deanna Hershiser enjoys tweaking technology and pondering theology at her blog. Her latest memory-musing about simpler stuff is forthcoming at The Shine Journal.