About this series: I revisited my journals from my first year as a freelance writer and found they told a story of their own. In this series I get the rare opportunity to give myself and other writers career advice with nearly 50 years of hindsight. Enjoy!
Here’s another glimpse into self-discovery from my journal of 1978: Apparently I had just read an article in the November, 1978 issue of Psychology Today about “soft technology” that “brought on my dreams of a solar-warmed, almost self-sufficient house.”
… Also saw “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (Jimmy Stewart – dir. Frank Capra) and “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” (Cary Grant, Myrna Loy) (cf. note on my dream house, above) These and the PT article point out the importance of the American spirit today — the indomitable idealist, the dreamer, the pioneer — the person out to improve himself and the world, damn the odds. I hope I can carry a bit of that into my life and writing — and keep it believable! (And viable…)Journal
4 December 1978
I barely recall that article, but in those days “soft technology” in that context probably meant what we now call passive solar heating. Today, it has a new meaning, according to the University of Northern California’s UNC Foundation: “Soft Technologies are concerned with human and social factors that facilitate human flexibility, encourage human initiatives, and emphasize human needs through research and education.”
To this day, I still can’t get enough of Misters Smith and Blandings (and, to a lesser extent, Deeds) and the hopefulness, determination, and good spirit with which they overcome their obstacles. Seven decades later, we need those lessons more than ever. Soft technologies, even today, can help lead us to them.