This weekend, as I was playing with my new phone*, I got to thinking about future and science fiction, and how hard it must be to write technologically believable fiction that doesn’t age within a decade or so. When I was a kid — say, twenty years ago — PCs were just arriving in some people’s homes. If I ever thought about it, I could not have fathomed a hand-held, slim gadget (I can’t even bring myself to call it a machine) on which I could make phone calls from pretty much anywhere in the world, locate myself, real time, on a map; message instantly anywhere in the world… video calls! And not to even mention internet. I can still remember the day dad carried our first VCR home. I remember the huge, unreliable “car phone” or NMT he used to have. When you think about it like that, we already live in the future.
I love gizmos and gadgets, but at the same, I also love going back to the cottage, where we have no running water or electricity. As mum and dad got older, they got a solar panel and a small TV (which I still resent), and we have a wood stove as well as one that works with gas. But most things are done the old way. Food is stored in a root cellar, and the water in the sauna has to be bucket-carried from the lake. After about a week, though, I get the urge to go online, even if just for a little bit…
I was watching a documentary about centenarians, and as I was marveling at their energy and good health, it occurred to me how beautiful they were. I got distracted from finishing the documentary, because I wanted to draw them. Old people are especially hard for me to draw because I’m used to doodling mostly pretty manga-type people. So I looked for more challenges, and I found an old photo of a sea captain online (which I then lost again), and, later on, I borrowed an old photo of my boyfriend’s for a reference of an African girl. Drawing not-tradionally beautiful people is so much more rewarding, because you really have to pay attention to things like wrinkles and asymmetries in the face. Also, I wanted to go back to pencils, since lately all my work has been digital. So, alliteration unintentional, pencil portrait practice:
*“I’m not going to buy a new phone until this perfectly good one breaks, no matter how much I want one.”
“Ooh, but I can just go and check how much it would cost, and stuff….”
“I have a new phone!”