Be Careful What You Wish For . . .

12 Nov

Have you ever wished for something that you really, truly thought you wanted? Maybe even for years before achieving your goal? And then – did it live up to your expectations?

Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t.

My very first computer was installed (etc.) on SuperBowl Sunday in 1987. I know that for fact, because that was the day I typed THE END on the last page of my first book. Typed being the operative word here because the entire book was written on a typewriter. So the next morning, I promptly began entering the manuscript into the computer. This was a trick! The language/O/S for this baby was CPM. Anyone else still alive who remembers that? The computer had next to no memory at all, and in fact used two 5 ¼  floppy disks, each in their own drive. One was the program, the other for one’s data. But hey! It was the new age, right? I was a player.

It didn’t take very long for me to discover that I was miles farther along the pathway than this computer could comprehend, so I bought a new computer – with DOS as the O/S. The friend who helped me choose this particular unit insisted I had to learn DOS before venturing into other programs, etc. I am forever grateful to him for his persistence. My knowledge of DOS has been very helpful to me, regardless of all the intervening years and subsequent machines. (Except for the solitary MAC in my existence, of course. It doesn’t speak to anything else in the universe, and I can’t talk to it, so we mutually ignore each other.)

Within the first year after that, I bought my first laptop.  It had a few programs on a teeny hard-drive, to which ordinary mortals had no access. Data went on a 3½ floppy. I’ll never forget the first time I took it to Severance Hall with me, to work on my book during the music, as I was stationed in my elevator for the evening. A young boy, maybe 7, came rushing out to the elevator at intermission, and was immediately and totally enchanted with my laptop. “What size hard-drive does it have?” he asked, eagerly showing off his computer expertise.

“It doesn’t have a hard-drive,” I responded. His jaw dropped and he looked at me as thought I had just answered him in Russian.

Just then, he looked up to see his Dad. “Hey, Dad!” he yelled, loudly enough for the patrons still in the balcony to have heard him. “Look at this computer. It doesn’t even have a hard drive!”  Geesh.

My poor abused laptop. Obsolete before I even learned how to use it properly! But that’s the computer age for you. These days, nearly 25 years later, you can easily buy a notebook little bigger than those 5¼ floppies, with no hard drive or floppy anything – programs and data may be stored on the Cloud. (Not by me, but lots of other folks.)

Shortly after these episodes in my life, along came the Internet, e-mail, and the ubiquitous WWW. Everyone wanted to have a web-site , but the domain name and registration, not to mention coding for the content was frightfully expensive. Now, of course, first-grade students can do it faster than a old codger like me can blink.

I wanted a web-site. I wanted a blog. What I didn’t want was to have to think it through thoroughly, to be sure it was what I really wanted to do. In 2002, I started reviewing classical music and theater for several local web-sites.  I really, truly enjoyed doing this, so I wanted a web-site where I could post these creations of mine. I obtained and disregarded three such sites before I changed my mind and decided to write about books instead. The Senior did fairly well, but again my unstable attention span sent me off in another direction. The Book Mechanic blog is coming up to its fifth birthday (next April)  and I’m still enjoying it.

Obviously, this was a good decision. Along the way, however, I had to learn to say NO to a lot of other projects. One of which was the music reviewing. I still enjoy it, but it was very time-consuming, and now there are other things to do which are equally, if not more, pleasurable. I find I don’t miss going out so much, too. Part of that may be that for the last three years I’ve lived in my own home, not a rented apartment. I am very content here.

It’s a wonderful thing to be wanted, and to be asked to do something that you really like to do, and are reasonably good at doing. I’ll never forget those folks who gave me a helping hand along the way, but I would not be serving them or me very well, if I continued doing something that was no longer that important to me. Next month, my final music blog ( will die, unloved and unattended to by me.

There are  new things that are more important to me at this point in my life. So, to make room for them on my calendar, other things have to be retired.  It’s not easy to say NO to something that you really love to do. It takes a stiff back-bone and lots of practice. If you face this dilemma in your life this next year, I wish you every success in your decision-making.  Book Mechanic has not yet out-stayed its welcome.  Should that day come, it’ll be hard to shut it down, but something better will have come along to take it’s place.

With every best wish for the remainder of 2014 and all of 2015 – Remember. Nothing happens until someone writes something!  Questions and/or comments may be sent to me at


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