The Proud Painter

While I struggle to recall my first memories of using a computer, I am more compelled to remember my first need for it. I simply didn’t have one. As a child, my parents did not immediately create an environment where a computer necessary. They had their computers at work and that was enough for them and I had my Disney books and toys which were enough for me. So in the beginning, we didn’t need a computer. My first experiences with it were very confusing because I did not understand its purpose. For a short period of time, even the word computer held no meaning for me, it was just a big white thing that sat in the corner of some relative’s living rooms. To everyone else however, the computer defined a new standard of living.

The first thing I remembered about computers was the Microsoft Paint program. Despite the machine’s power and endless possibilities, I just wanted to color.  Coloring inside the lines was and still is an impossible concept for me to master. Yet this program made me feel like I had the control to do anything—to make anything. So for hours, I would paint distorted landscapes of sunrises and self-portraits that were really unflattering, all while becoming slowly drawn into this digital world of endless possibilities.

Before I knew it getting on the computer began to feel like a normal activity. My most significant exposure came the day my mother installed the Jump Start typing program onto our first desk top. This program provided the basic fundamentals for typing but personally, it was what Van Dijk would describe as my first real “action and reaction” experience on the computer. It also gave me sense of commitment to it, every day I was to spend 30 minutes on this program practicing my typing.  What intrigued me the most was how I could both receive information and instantly see my mark on the page after I sent information back out. I enjoyed this quality so much that I began to use it to talk with real people. In a flash I was emailing close friends and family and developing my first social media profile.

Today I am still drawn to new media because of the valued interactivity and control it gives me. I am the author and editor of my digital life, I have the power to not only create and destroy content, but also share my most powerful and intimate moments. It is through this interactive characteristic that I am able to discover a piece of my identity. As sad as that is to write I’m sure I am not the only one who can admit it.

Although my relationship with computers has now evolved tremendously from the first time I used it, one dynamic remains the same. I am an artist– we are all artists. Our true beauty lies in our ability to join together and brag about our individual work even if it is a little unflattering.


Despite my relationship with technology today, there are somethings that I do miss. I feel that children today do not take advantage of resources offered to them in their communities i.e park districts and recreational centers. In a way these resources have become outdated.  This article is interesting because it  shows that despite technological advances public libraries are able to stay relevant. This was refreshing to see.

 Discussion Questions 

1.Have you ever observed your parents or parent figures while you were using the internet? Explain your interactions with them during your computer usage and after.

2. What do you think will happen or has happened to classic board games and children books  as we become more and more technologically advanced?

Lauren S. Smith


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