Ask a Wench about Tech!

Are you a high tech or low tech person?  Do  you enjoy all the bells and whistles of modern technology—or does it make you run for the hills?

Mary Jo here: Because the Word Wench site is transitioning to a new platform and there has been much flailing and some howling behind the scenes, tech has been much on Wenchly minds so this seemed like a good time to talk about it.

Technology, specifically the personal computer, literally changed my life.  I bought a Leading Edge, an early PC, to do copywriting and billing for my small freelance design business.  The Mayhem Consultant showed me how to use word processing–and very shortly after I realized that here was a great tool for writing down the stories in my head because when you fix the typos, they stay fixed!!! Three months later I was offered a contract for Signet Regencies and the rest is history.

Clearly I owe tech a lot, but that said, I’m a tech minimalist.  I love communicating with friends all over the world, my desk top computer is set up just the way I like it and I must admit that I like my iPhone for various reasons, including the ability to take quick pictures, such as this one of Riley the Wrecker and do of his Egyptian pals.

But I loathe upgrades, which usually make things worse, not better.  I have to be dragged, hissing and snapping, into new tech.  I have software that is a couple of decades out of date because I don’t want to waste time and brain space learning something new that I’ll probably like less.  Put me on the island with the Tech Dinos!

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Ask A Wench —about storytelling

Anne here, and today the wenches are responding to the question: Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

Little engine

Pat said:  In my case, I must accept that I was simply born with a love of books and writing. I can’t even say it’s in the genes because from what little I know of my family, my Great-Aunt Norma was the only one who wrote. She was a librarian and vanity-published a book of poems. She might possibly be the reason I love books, although that’s hard to say. For birthdays and holidays, she would sometimes send books the library didn’t want, even though they were inevitably much too old for a toddler who couldn’t read. So I’d pore over the wonderful pictures of lands far away and attempt to puzzle out what the words might say. To this day, I remember being appalled at a news announcer talking about an i-land when it was so obvious that he was talking about land surrounded by a body of water which. . . is land.

I can also remember a really old book of children’s poetry that I marked up with crayons as I sounded out the words. I don’t know how old I was at that point, but I apparently knew my letters and sounds but didn’t know better than to draw on books.

I have no memory of anyone ever reading to me, although I do remember the stories in the Little Golden Books (remember Pokey Little Puppy and the Little Engine That Could?   and kicking up a fuss until a book got tossed into the cart. Someone must have read the books to me at some point so I could follow the story later, when I tried to read it on my own.

All I really know was that I devoured every book in the house, reading and re-reading since my selection was limited. We had no library. By the time I was in fourth grade, I was buying classical English literature from the Scholastic bookfair with my tiny allowance. And since I never had enough to read, I wrote my own, filling notebooks full of stories.

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Ask A Wench: Where Do You Write?

Pat here:

This month, the wenches are all under the gun and chose an easy fun question to discuss: “Do you find that the seasons or weather or time of day can affect your creativity or productivity? What is your favorite place to write?”

Nicola's gardenNicola: I’m writing this sitting in our living room with the view in the photo. This is a problem because on the rare fine days we have had this summer I would prefer to be sitting out there enjoying the garden. I generally find this time of year quite soporific, especially if it’s humid weather; by the early afternoon I want to take a nap which could go on for several hours! It doesn’t help that August in the UK is holiday season and so there’s a sense of putting your feet up and relaxing. Sadly this isn’t on the cards when, like me, you have a 1st September deadline!

I’ve always been a bit of a lark rather than an owl so I will start work early, flag a bit in the early afternoon but get a second wind between about 4 and 6pm. Most of the time I work in my study at the front of the house which, because it’s a Victorian cottage, has thick walls and is cool in the summer and warmer in the winter. Autumn always feels an energising season to me which is odd when the trees are losing their leaves, but I love the colours and the sense of a crisp chill in the air. I’m definitely not someone who responds well to the heat which I think may come from my North European genes!

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Ask A Wench – Who’s Grumpy?

“Why, Grumpy… You do care.” Snow White discovers Grumpy’s compassionate side. Nicola here, introducing this month’s Ask A Wench and a topic that has caused much discussion among the Wenches lately. (Photograph: Wikimedia Commons: Alex Patel). “Adjectives to describe heroes have changed over the years.  "Grumpy" seems to be popular these days.  What does this mean to you? Are there other such adjectives you've liked or hated for heroes?” Christina here and I don’t actually mind grumpy heroes, if they have a reason for being that way. Recently, I’ve read quite a few contemporary stories and the grumpy heroes usually …

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Ask A Wench

Muse_reading_Louvre_CA2220_(cropped)Pat here, with this month’s question from Karen:

I very much enjoy the monthly What We're Reading columns, and I began wondering about books that you, the Wenches, do not mention. I'd be happy to hear the answers to any or all of these questions: Do you abandon books with abandon or do you finish every book you begin? Do you read a significant number of books that you don't mention for any reason? Are you a slow or quick reader?


Do you abandon books with abandon or do you finish every book you begin?

 I’m quite a hasty reader in the sense that if a book doesn’t grab me reasonably quickly I will probably abandon it. I’m certainly not the sort of reader to battle on regardless on the “I’ve started so I’ll finish” premise.  I think I may miss out on some good books this way by not giving them the time to get going, so sometimes I will come back to them for a second attempt. Once I’m into a book it’s very unusual for me to give up on it but if something happens in the story that makes it a wall- banger then it’s all over! I recently read a top 10 bestseller that I was really enjoying until very near the end and then (to my mind) it took a completely wrong turning and I wanted to give it up. However I also wanted to know what happened at the end so that was a real dilemma for me!

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