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    Sara Rosett Icon

    Sometimes we get too complicated for our own good. Last week I registered my kids for school—nine pages of forms. For each child. That’s right, 18 pages total. I know that computers are wonderful and really have helped us simply our lives in so many ways. I love downloading bank transactions, but computers also let us unnecessarily complicate our lives. I mean, how many times do I have to fill in our phone numbers? Do they really need it on a dozen different pages?

    I remember when my mom registered me for elementary school. It’s a vivid memory because, like every kid, I never wanted the summer to end and the trip to the school to register was the death knell of summer. I fidgeted in one of the lines that wound through the school cafeteria, which still smelled like overcooked green beans and fresh bread dough, despite being closed for three months as my mom filled out an index card. That’s right, an index card. You could fit all pertinent info on a piece of paper half the size of one of 18 forms I filled out.

    So here’s to solid, old fashioned forms of communication that keep us from getting too complicated—to index cards, to lined note paper, to pencils and chunky erasers, because sometimes simple is better than complex. Sometimes complex isn’t complex. It’s just…more.

    8 Responses to “Paperwork”

    1. I still use index cards for “outlining” scripts. Different colors for different characters and/or storylines.

      I don’t write in longhand - wish I could - but I do all my prelim work (research, notes, ideas for characters, scenes, etc.) on legal pads with either #2 pencils, or a really nice Pelikan or Waterman pen… depending on my mood.

      by guyot on August 23rd, 2006 at 11:06 am

    2. I took two full days off from writing last week just to go through the necessary paperwork for sending my daughter off to college. Yikes!

      Someone could make a killing off selling the software to fill out school forms, customized for each district. Figure people would pay $5-$10 each year for the chance to press AutoFill and be done. I know I would.

      Next week is the week of regular school forms for me. But, happily, it’s also the week of silence in the house from 7:15-2:45. I’ll fill a few forms out for the sake of that. :D

      by Heidi Vornbrock Roosa on August 23rd, 2006 at 1:23 pm

    3. I knew I needed a Waterman pen! Certain plotting situations demand it.

      Heidi, I forgot to calculate in the trade-off between forms and silence for a few hours a day…

      by Sara Rosett on August 23rd, 2006 at 2:58 pm

    4. What I particularly love about functioning in the age of computers is that when the computers go down (as they all periodically do), suddenly no one can remember how to do anything! It’s like they short circuit along with the electronics.

      And everyone insists on a forest’s worth of paper backup anyway, so…

      by Diana Killian on August 23rd, 2006 at 3:51 pm

    5. I think there could be a market for Heidi\’s software-filling-out idea in lots of areas where paperwork has become a bit extreme. Schools, doctor offices, hospitals, government agencies. After awhile, you get so cross-eyed that you don\’t know what you\’re signing your name to at the bottom. The days of simple index cards do look good at times, don\’t they?

      by Laura on August 23rd, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    6. Don’t get me started on doctor office forms. It’s not a pretty sight.

      by Sara Rosett on August 23rd, 2006 at 4:24 pm

    7. “A really nice pen makes writing so much easier.”

      Know who said that? John Steinbeck. Yup. He wrote exclusively with Watermans (or is it Watermen?).

      Okay, Steinbeck didn’t really say that. And who knows what he wrote with, but it’s fun to think that!

      by guyot on August 24th, 2006 at 8:13 am

    8. Oooooo….nice pens are a HUGE weakness of mine. I have a Waterman that I adore. And it’s not just the pen–it’s the combination of pen and nice, smooth paper.

      I’m such a pen maniac that sometimes I don’t mind filling out forms. At least not if they’re on ok paper and I’ve got a good pen.

      That said, however, I just spent way too long filling out school forms myself and would have been thrilled to only have had to do an index card.

      by Tasha Alexander on August 25th, 2006 at 6:53 am

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