Thursday, October 06, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs: 1955-2011

Today, the internet is flooded with tributes to Steve Jobs, who passed away last night.  When I heard the news I wanted to cry as if I had lost a close friend.  There are several reasons why the news hit me this way, but I'll name three:

  • Steve Jobs was a pioneer who defined the world I lived in precisely at the time of my "awakening."  I was among the first students who learned about computers on an Apple back in the late 1970's, when the Apple had just opened the door to personal computing for everyday people.  In college, the little Mac brought the world of computing into my dorm room and eventually made my old electric typewriter, dropped and busted by a "friend" during senior finals, obsolete.  I was exactly the audience who grew with the company, who saw a true pioneer, a genius, define the way people interacted with computers.  He personalized them with an uncanny intuition for how people think.  Not just smart people...all people.  "Visionary" almost seems too hackneyed to describe his gifts.

  • I would not be the writer/teacher I am today.  While some people may still prefer to grab a pen and a legal pad and write out their manuscripts in long-hand, I simply could not function without my MacBook Pro.  A pen or pencil could never keep up with my mind when it comes to writing down my stories and ideas.  The computer keyboard at least lets me stumble through the mistakes or type stream-of-consciousness in a way that lets me put it all together with ease later.  My Mac is far more forgiving than a legal pad...and far more durable as well as versatile. Because of my "insanely good" Mac, I have an online community that keeps me sane and never lets me give up. I have a tool that has supported and inspired my creativity both in my writing and in my teaching.  

  • My faith in people, in the world, in the wonder that is life would be missing something without Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Wall-E, UP, and all the wonderful Pixar films that owe so much to Steve Jobs.  All due respect and a standing ovation to the writers, but the realization of their vision, what so many of us writers dream of, comes largely from the tools that Steve Jobs offered. For my kids and myself, the simplest emotions still have immeasurable magic. 

As I awakened to my own potential gifts and set my feet on a road with no one particular destination, the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, it has all been there over the years to give me direction. Technology that was more than useful, more than personal.  It was art. And as I discovered the beauties of parenthood and pondered the simplest questions only to realize they are the hardest to answer, Pixar showed me a lifetime of wisdom in less than 90 minutes.  Like so many others of my generation and younger, I can't help but wonder, will it ever be the same?

Thank you, Steve Jobs, and Godspeed...


  1. I hear your story, and your grief, Mary Ann. In some ways I feel like an observer right now. I knew about Steve Jobs but I never used a Mac, did not have an iphone or ipad and am not so keenly, personally aware of how he changed the world.

    Not sure what that says about me. But I know he influenced me in ways I cannot imagine. I am grateful and awed and he does inspire me to give what I have to offer to the world.

  2. well, well, said. Thank you indeed, Mr. Jobs...and thanks Mary for putting it into words.

  3. I feel the same way, mary Ann. Steve Jobs was somebody I felt akin with, in an odd way. We were born in the same year and shared the same high school graduation date. He was creative, as I like to think of myself, only he had much more drive than me. While he has enriched my life in many ways - I too use a Mac computer and loved the Pixar films - I think I've learned a lot about living from him. I'm working on a blog post about him, too.

    Nice post!


Thanks to spammers, this blog is moderated, so don't be alarmed if your comment doesn't appear right away. Thanks for stopping by!