Back in the day, I went to Camp Hitaga, which is a Camp Fire Girls camp in Iowa. It was 1974 and I was 12.
I can’t explain how I got to go to a sleep-away camp in another state, because I was the Camp Fire Girl who never really had a uniform to speak of. While all the other girls had the skirt and the vest and the scarf and the hat, I think I had the hat. Maybe the scarf too, but those were the least expensive parts of the uniform. (I snagged this image; it is of another troop, not mine.)
I stared at the cover of this book, wishing quite hard, that I was one of these girls. Maybe the other girl was my best friend, too.
The year I went was the year before I would be in the 7th grade, so I was a Watanopa Girl. And yes, there’s even a song for my unit.
One of the things I loved about Camp Hitaga was that I got to do archery. I wasn’t very good, but I was very keen.
Why I’m bringing this up is the lesson that I learned from the archery instructor. When I went to the barrel to pick out my arrows, I always looked to get three of the same kind, ones with beautiful stripes and unbroken fletching. After watching me do this a time or two, my instructor came up and said to me:
“Christina, beautiful arrows do not a bullseye make.”
I pretended to be dumbfounded, but I knew what she meant. That, no matter how beautiful my arrows were, they would not make me a better archer. I could argue, and probably did, that at the very least, beautiful arrows would give me joy and confidence, and that alone would help me be a better archer. They did not, but they still made me happy.
Now, many, many, many years later, I was reminded of that fact when I went to purchase a new laptop. Oh, you would not believe, or maybe you would, how many lovely laptops there are out there!
My first laptop was an HP Pavillion, which I purchased in 2006. It weight 15 pounds and had a 17″ screen because I thought I would need a screen that big, you see. Talk about lugging a brick around! To give it credit, although it runs on XP, it still runs. And now, having learned my lesson, I set out to buy a new one, because who wants to lug around 15 pounds?
I looked at the Surface Pro 4 (I looked at it a LOT), and I looked at the Dell XPS 13, also a lot, and I watched many of Lisa Gade’s Mobile Tech Reviews on youtube. (She’s the best, by the way, very sensible and easy to follow.)
I learned that although there wasn’t any computer without some flaws, and I also learned that the prettiest, slickest ones were always above $1,000, and that I could not afford. So I got the Asus X540sa, which weighs less than 5 pounds, costs around$270, and saddest of all, has the same Pentium four-core processor that my HP Pavillion did.
I bought it because I needed to do marketing and other paperwork stuff during my lunch hour, and maybe I’d lug it to the coffee shop and pretend that everybody else didn’t have a Mac Book Air or a Surface Pro 4. That I wasn’t the only girl without a full uniform.
But dangit! I don’t need a fancy computer to be a good writer, and I don’t need a supersonic i7 processor to go on FaceBook or to retweet on Twitter. I do not need pretty arrows!
Although, you know, it would have given me joy and confidence.
And this is all coming out much more morose than I intended, but my point is this. If all you have is a pad of paper and a pencil and you want to be a writer, then go write. If all you have is half an hour before the sun comes up and those cows need to be milked, then go write. If all you have is one corner of one afternoon, and you want to be a writer, then write. You can write just as well on a Surface Pro 4 as you can on an Asus X540sa. You can, I promise you.
P.S I have learned during this process that the more expensive a computer is, the fewer numbers it will have. Surface Pro 4. Mac Book. Dell XPS 13 vs. an
Asus – VivoBook X540SA-BPD0602V.
Good luck out there.