Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Paperless Parent

As parents of three young children, it goes without saying that we get inundated with artwork, schoolwork and other such papers that we "have" to keep. If you've never experienced the tears and recrimination you get when your six-year-old daughter finds one of her prized works of art mushed up and squeezed into the trash can, you won't ever understand why "having" to keep this stuff is so important.

I had files of the stuff. And piles. And files and piles I hadn't filed or piled yet. So I scanned it all into the computer. I let the kids watch. They thought it was pretty neat that their art was in the computer. Then I showed them that after I'd scanned it, I was throwing it all away. But I wasn't, because it's all in the computer. They liked that -- especially the six-year-old. So, from time to time, I'll start displaying their art on this blog.

I know there are sites on the Internet that make fun of kids' art. Well, they're run by snotty people who call kids "crotchfruit" and other derogatory names and sincerely believe they're doing the world a favor by not bringing kids into the world (I have to agree with them on the last one; that'll kill of those genes in a generation, just like the asteroid that got the dinosaurs). But I like my kids' art.

Here's one from the aforementioned daughter. Her mother helped her spell my name:

In case you can't read it, yes, my name is spelled "Boob." It's fitting.

Somehow, I wish I'd saved more of my things like this from childhood. As it is, I have just a handful of drawings and a few minor samples of my otherwise poor handwriting. That's it. And I used to have boxes and boxes and boxes of this stuff. But it's all gone, thrown in some trash heap.

Yes, there are storage problems if you want to keep a hold of this kind of stuff. But that's where I've been using the computer once again. I have an apple box filled with journals, dating back nearly 18 years. They're all scanned into the computer. I still hold on to the paper, yes, but I do have them all copied onto CDs. From 2000 on, my journals are all electronic -- right down to the comics I've cut out of the newspaper to illustrate my days and years. Ditto for the research I've done for the novel I'm working on, and all the creative writing I've done over the years. I used to have binders of the stuff clogging up an entire shelf in the study. It'sll all electronic now, but this time the paper is gone. Recycled, of course. I still have a box of newspaper clippings from my era as a journalist to take care of, but I've been whittling away at it, slowly. So that's going away. It's helped to get rid of the clutter, but keep the memories.

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