Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Location: Books & Such Main Office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Yesterday I wrote about how, for every trend, there’s a counter trend. One of the ways in which I see that being expressed is with the trend toward more highly sophisticated and complicated technology. It greets us everywhere.
My husband and I recently moved into a home with all new appliances, and I’ve found that my microwave and oven are loaded with electronics. Why, they’re so smart, I’m surprised I even need to figure out temperature and time settings. I think if I asked them, they’d feed my dog on schedule precisely the same amount of food each meal. But, as we all know, the downside of this sophistication is when it doesn’t work.
I’ve memorized the buttons I need to push on my phone to reach technical help because both my microwave and oven have had technological meltdowns, resulting in the replacement of their panels.
Okay. So we have the trend toward the technology. But we all live with the frustrations of figuring out how to use that technology and having the equipment malfunction.
That leaves room for the counter trend.We’ve seen it expressed in fiction through the enthusiastic and seemingly nonstop interest in Amish/Mennonite/Shaker novels. Ah, the simple life. We don’t really want to abandon all the conveniences of our lifestyles, but it is nice to slip away to a quieter, simpler place.
And we’re seeing it in nonfiction. Crafts. Working with our hands. Creating something old-fashioned with a new-fashioned verve.
Take quilts. Quilting is an increasingly popular pastime, but because few of us live out in the country, today’s quilts don’t always reflect the gently rolling hills and bright colors of the countryside. Instead, cityscapes are showing up on quilts. Picture a patchwork quilt with a scene of a city’s skyline at night. Or the maze of interconnecting, overlapping freeways, overpasses and bridges.
A craft book entitled Zombie Felties is releasing this month from Andrews McMeel. Gone are the sweet and cute felties of the past.
Sewing is the new knitting.
And men are converting their garages into workshops. I walk around my neighborhood on a nice day, and the garage doors are open. The men are inside with saws buzzing away as they make tables, chairs, porticos, fancy garden gates.
The list goes on and on.
As you think about this desire for simplicity and a return to hands-on “building” of something, how does it rock the way you think about what you’re writing?