notes

A writer’s toast to Steve Jobs.

In writing on October 5, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Tonight, I heard the news of Steve Jobs’ death. Across the globe, droves of Apple fans are already expressing their sadness at the idea of a world without Jobs’ innovation, inspiration and verve. We’re sending our thoughts out into the world via his many paradigm-rocking products: iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and iMacs and more.

It is a mind-boggling thing to imagine the number of creative projects – from books and magazines to movies and songs – that have been launched thanks to Steve Jobs’ creative projects. How many of us may never have managed to get an idea out of our heads and into reality if we had not had such beautifully usable, inviting technology at hand?

I’ve managed to write a book in large part thanks to Steve Jobs & company. Along the way, I’ve used the built-in iPhone audio or notes apps to save ideas or fixes that came to mind on the fly. Long, uninterrupted blocks of writing time at home are often hard to come by, but my Mac laptops gave me a chance to make use of bits of extra time in the middle of busy days. I researched, wrote, revised or reviewed in coffee shops, waiting rooms, lobbies, libraries and many other spots in cities across the country.

And yes, I realize that in theory I could have done this with a non-Mac laptop, too … in theory.

But in reality, I’m a Mac, to quote the famous commercials. Apple’s style and approach have always worked for me in a way that the others’ didn’t, and I’m convinced that you need to love the tools with which you ply your trade.

My book project exists only in a stack of pages and in my Mac “cloud.” I haven’t taken any steps toward publishing it, and even when I do, the odds are slim. But when the last chapter was complete, I realized what a satisfying thing it is simply to have finished. And it was my Apple tools and the flexibility they brought that helped me get to “The End” during a chaotic stretch of life.

So I add my thanks in memory of Steve Jobs … for dreaming up tools that have made it possible for even the English majors among us to not only write, but to create beautiful things when inspiration strikes.

And also for the message in that famous Stanford commencement speech – reading those words again tonight made me feel as if I was smart, not foolish, to have made a go of forsaking a secure paycheck for work that I love.

I’m sorry that “The End” came much too soon for Steve Jobs, but at least he was wise enough to spend the years he did have doing work he found satisfying.

“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

~ Steve Jobs

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