Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Friday 21 August 2020

Not a Zoomer or a Boomer & Not So Silent


Selfie with Owl (Irene Cowell)
Tasmanian writer Irene Cowell tracks her technology development as her writing career developed. Regardless of the tech at your fingertips it is the story that you have tell that is most important.

I knew I wasn’t a “Zoomer”. I’ve only now discovered that my generation is known as the ”Silent Generation”. Strange but true! I have recently started to “Zoom”. This relatively new technology is infinitely more satisfying than its jerky predecessor, “Skype” which I gave up on after a short, confusing tech. information tutorial.

My first computer experiences were with MicroBee, rather than Microsoft or Apple. These computers were Australian designed, began as a hobbyist kit then became so popular that they were assembled in the 80’s on the Central Coast of NSW, near where I lived and worked. They were networkable, with a tiny 16 / 32 KB memory and the first computers we had in many Australian schools. It was fortunate for our school at Bateau Bay, that Assistant Principal, Marlene Davidson, was involved in their development through teaching programs. Both my children “cut their teeth” on these basic machines. Watch Owen Hill, the MicroBee founder to find out more about their history.

Rainbow Island Tapestry of Time

When, after many years, I began to take my writing seriously I typed my manuscript on our family desktop computer. That book was published in 2017 by Forty South as Rainbow Island Tapestry of Time. I graduated to my own laptop. Then towards the middle of 2019 I decided that I needed to brush up on my drawing skills by attempting an online course: “Natural Science Illustration 101” through Newcastle Uni. That tested my ability. It wasn’t just the drawing, although that was rigorous enough; it was more about posting each week’s project online and on time, and being involved in their critique group which exercised all my computer skills and then some.

Towards the tail end of 2019, when I was invited to join a Tasmanian Children’s Writer & Illustrator Group, I thought, “might as well!” and so I did. When CWILLS [pronounced “QUILLS”] went to Zoom in this bushfire-ravaged, storm-damaged, Covid-haunted year, I followed. From that satisfying experience I joined the international writer/illustrator group, SCBWI, and now find I am participating in online tutorials, information sessions and have even progressed to an online critique about my writing. What’s next? After recently participating in a SCWBI TAS Webinar, I have decided to join the associated  “PitchFest”, and will soon be pitching a manuscript to a publisher as well as discussing my illustration portfolio. Wish me luck!

N.B. Must remember to log in early.

Irene Cowell

Author: Rainbow Island Tapestry of Time”, published by Forty South
Instagram @rainbowislandseries

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