I know I look ridiculous, I know you can hardly seen him, but below in his be-stickered glory is Konsuke, my old laptop:

Now if you know anything about me you know I have a penchant for naming important electronic objects in my life. My phones have ranged from Horatio to Joben, my old ipod I fondly called Jimmy, and my briefly previous laptop was named Charlemagne. Never, though, have any of these come close in status to Konsuke, my Sony Vaio that carried me gloriously from my freshman year of high school through to Thanksgiving of 2009. Konsuke was the first electronic thing I ever named and he will always stand out as the best.

I have never not had a computer. First I shared the family computer back in the early 90’s when we had a Gateway as tall as I was, and in the later 90’s I got my own PC, a monstrously slow but cheap Compaq that forever doomed my faith in the brand. In 2000 I got a Vaio PC, and in 2003 my childhood dream was fulfilled and I became the first of my friends to own a laptop. I’ll never forget the experience: hopping in the car with my dad for the special trip down to Fry’s, spending ages walking up and down the aisles of laptops scrutinizing each one because for the first time, I would actually get to take one home. I couldn’t count the number of times I’d enviously wandered down the aisles typing on the keyboards, just dorkily savoring the smooth clicks of the flat buttons. After hours of talking and speculating we settled on a silver K Series Sony Vaio. My dad paid $2200 for that laptop – admittedly, I was a lucky, spoiled kid. But of all of the gifts I received in my childhood, never did I appreciate one more.

Right now I’m looking into getting a new laptop. I’m not quite sure which I’ll be getting, but I know two things: it’ll be a Sony Vaio, and it will be more than fours times as capable as Konsuke, but cost less than a third of the price. That technology can advance that much astounds me. I was considering the other day that had you handed me my current HTC Hero when I was a ten year-old obsessed with Harriet the Spy and told me in twelve years it would be my phone, I would have told you you were crazy. Imagining where the next twelve years will go is almost something I’d rather not think about. Regardless – new times, new technology, and right now, that means a new laptop.

For me, this is a huge deal. It’s where all of my writing will happen. I’m not going to pretend I do much important writing; 90% of the time it will never see the light of day. But recently I’ve been talking with some course friends about writing and it’s brought a lot to my mind about what I write. The creative writing course I’ve taken at UEA has its roots firmly planted in the grounds of realism – if you want to veer into anything vaguely fantasy and retain a semblance of importance, then you better be writing something dystopian. Genre fiction, though? If you listened to them, they’d tell you realism is where it’s at. Maybe that’s true for some writers, but that’s not how I break it down. There’s a time and a place, and the Booker prize can keep its gloomy, monotonous, over-critiqued contenders. I’ll take Tamora Pierce, Kristen Britain, and George R. R. Martin any day.

In a way it feels like a massively frustrating cycle: I came to UEA loving fantasy and wanting to write fantasy, I spent two and a half years trying to break successfully into realism, and now with less than half a term left, I realize I’m back where I started in my love affair with fantasy. I’ve gone through so many phases here, imagining myself fitting all sorts of authorial stereotypes. I had my many piercings which I fancied made me edgy. I chopped all of my hair off to be different (though to be fair, it did look horrendous when it was long and the pixie cut is an inarguable improvement). I dressed how I thought English people imagined Californians dressed, then I bought leggings and high-waisted skirts because I wanted to seem English. Don’t get me wrong – I loved doing every single one of those things. I’ve never seen the problem with wanting to dress like a bit of a cliché; honestly, I think it’s what lots of people are trying to do and they just never admit it. It’s fun and that’s what I wanted. But more than that, I thought it all somehow had an effect on the sort of writer I had to be, as if I couldn’t write fantasy if I didn’t look the part, or the same for Booker-prize wannabe realism. I realize now though, happily, that it simply doesn’t matter how I look. I could dress like Carrie Bradshaw and it wouldn’t make me any less of a fantasy writer.

When graduation comes in four months, God only knows what I’ll be up to. I’ll have a place on the Norfolk and Norwich Festival Publicity Team under my belt, plus the nearly-three years I’ve accumulated at the Pasty Cafe, but beyond that,  my professional future is hazy. If I’m lucky I’ll have secured a place in the Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures Masters program I’ve applied to at UEA, and also somehow be lucky enough to have secured the required funding. But I’ve been waiting to keep writing and now that I’ve figured out what’s been stopping me lately, I’m ready to start again. And honestly, I feel like a new laptop – almost as if to help see me through this next part of life – is a huge part of that. Konsuke saw me through an immeasurable amount of change. Hell,  seeing me through high school alone would have been daunting enough (especially considering the pathetic lifespan of laptops these days…a topic for another day). The importance of getting a new computer may sound very vain, very dorky, or perhaps the epitome of how many older people see my generation, tied almost pathetically to the technology we’ve watched evolve faster than we’ve grown up. But I don’t care.

I’m ready for the new bits, and after having borrowed laptops and hand-me-downs ever since Thanksgiving in 2009, I am really ready for a new computer. After all, it essentially is my life. I write on it, I keep in touch with my friends on it, I keep in touch with the world on it. It’ll be like getting a new take on life, and seeing as a lot of change will be happening pretty soon here, now seems as good a time as any. I’ve got my writing sorted out, so bring it on.

1 Response to “Beginnings.”

  1. 1 maggie! March 13, 2011 at 9:01 am

    I totally get you. Getting a new computer is so cathartic. It’s like a clean slate that you can then fill with as many curse words as you want (That’s just me? Oh, okay… *skulks away*). When I got my new laptop I was so stoked to have one that could edit photos AND run the internet at the same time that I think I could have cried with joy. I hope your fancy-pants new computer is the outlet you need for your fantasy writing 🙂

    I do miss konsuke though. THat thing was a monster.

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photo cred to myself and Maggie J. Moxie

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