Goodbye Clippy

Drawn by me with Adobe Draw

As a child, the concept of technology was beyond me. I wasn’t quite sure what its purpose was, but for some reason I felt so enticed by its fascinating yet unfamiliar nature. The first computer I ever used was a big old Macintosh in the basement of my childhood home. I didn’t know what it could do or what it was for, but I was able to entertain myself with the buttons on the keyboard watching the screen move up and down as I hit the arrow keys. It made lots of beeps and boops and I just thought it was the coolest toy. Eventually, after days of haphazard scrolling and curious clicking (especially on minesweeper) with the help of my brother, I begin using Microsoft Word. I didn’t know much about typing or writing at the time, but was forced to learn rather quickly after meeting that suave paper clip guy with the eyebrows that always seemed to have something to say. He was kind of annoying, but looking back I kind of miss that paperclip.

Being an ambitious child, I made several attempts to write a “series” which were really just a couple incoherent sentences about a little mouse I named mousey. From there, I explored MS paint and made some very questionable masterpieces to go along with the storyline. To put it simply, at this point in life, technology to me, or rather more specifically computers, were just a toy that had unexpectedly opened up unfamiliar world to translate my imagination into a new medium.

In 2007 I finally stumbled upon in internet. I would find myself searching for images of cute, tiny bunnies or weird foods I was curious about. When I discovered YouTube, it was basically all over for me. With my brother’s tiny flipvideo camera and my creative improvisations, we were able to create some top tier comedy videos. He showed me how to create an email address, which then allowed me to communicate with friends and family.

A few years later, the Nintendo DSi came out. This device provided a gateway to present my imaginations in a more lively and abstract way. I used Flipnote, which was a place to create and share “flipbook” animations. The DSi was also one of the first times I remember being able to use technology to communicate with friends aside from emailing or walki-talkies. This was done through an application called Pictochat which allowed DS users to communicate with each other via bluetooth when within a reasonable distance. It was an introduction to what instant messaging could be like.

It was truly all fun and games until technology was incorporated into my education. In this aspect, I felt as though technology in the classroom opposed creativity and exploration. It became an unfortunate reality for technology to become something that I began to associate with stress.

5th grade was a rough time. Computers were used for reading and writing exams to determine future class placement. Being at a reading/writing a level considerably lower than my peers, these exams were very stressful and only highlighted my insecurities as my score was largely displayed on the screen. I tried to find ways to avoid being put in a situation where I would experience the hierarchy of such literacy intelligence. I tried to keep reading and writing something that I would do in private and at my own pace in order to preserve what was left of my joy in it. 

I’m brought back to a time where I would sit on the windowsill of my childhood bedroom, swaddled in a rainbow quilt my grandmother made for me. I would lean my head against the window, cracking the blinds just enough for the moonlight to seep through so I could see, and pull out a little pink comic book. It was a very simple book, but looking back, maybe that’s why I liked it so much. It followed the life of a little baby mouse and her whimsical encounters with the world. I would get so lost in her many adventures. It’s cheesy, but the stories are probably what inspired me to continue reading and writing despite my insecurities. Looking back, I had probably created at least 20-30 little notebooks filled drawings and stories. Honestly, they probably pretty cringe, but my parents always seemed to get so excited when I told them I was about to release my next novel.

By the end of elementary school, I was gifted an Acer laptop which really guided my creative aspirations. By this time, clippy was long gone, and it was up to me to be able to figure out how to use Microsoft writing tools on my own. My intentions were to compile my mini stories into some sort of abstract series. Although I never shared the end product with anyone besides my parents, the process was very fulfilling for my 10 year old soul. The files I saved them on unfortunately passed along with the death of my laptop via water spill. I think If I were to look back on them today, I would probably cringe, but also be happy for the young me that was no longer discouraged her writing capabilities.

Currently, I use technology as a for researching topics I am interested in, communicating with those I can no longer see in person, and most importantly, for creating art, or more specifically, music. Even after 10 years later, I still find myself coming back to that same spot I was years ago reading the baby mouse book, swaddled up in a the quilt, maybe not reading a book or writing a story, but making music on my iPad.

Honestly, I miss what technology used to be, or at least what it used to be to me. It was all so new and exciting, and thus we were always supplied an influx of fresh and original content. Technology felt like an extension to my life that could be opened when I was feeling inspired, and put away when I was ready to head back into the world. It was a simpler time. Now, it feels as though I can’t go a day without staring at my computer screen. It’s indeed an interesting, yet riveting dynamic. It’s truly amazing to see how far technology has come and I’m excited to see what the future may hold, although, sometimes I wish I could just open up my computer and say hello to clippy one more time.