As it has been well documented here in my last few posts, I recently moved to a new apartment. The space is fabulous; large, clean, and comes with a panoramic view of the city (photos later) so all in all it’s been a great experience. Only, it was more expensive than I planned, and some things had to be cut back; Internet and cable primarily, albeit temporarily. I’ve been relying on radio and newspapers for my daily fix on news and events, but it’s been slow as molasses going uphill. Nothing can replace the immediacy of online news and the speed at which it transmits (The radio and newspapers report stories that are DAYS old. Ugh.).
Writers of my vintage (growing up in the 70’s and 80’s) are used to this kind of thing. Life BI (Before Internet) was quite interesting in that you could actually hear yourself think, and much as I love the constant chatter of the online community, it’s just too damned distracting and all-encompassing. When the net is connected, I just always want to be on, like being addicted. Just to go through the rounds of email sites, social networks like Facebook and Twitter (and now Google Plus?) takes hordes of time away from the real important things (Like eating and sleeping) and that’s no good. There’s a big fat stupid world out there, and sometimes you gotta go out galumphing in it instead of trying to interpret all the zillions of opinions online and making sense of it. Living vicariously through wires and microchips is no way to go through life.
In a way, it’s been therapeutic. I sit down at my desk and write for a few hours, then take the dog out for a walk in the large park behind the building. Sometimes I take Garcia Lorca with me, or Walt Whitman. When I come back, I sit down again and write. No blog post to worry about, no Twitter feed to update. My only concern has been writing.
I thought I’d have gone crazy by now, but it’s been strangely peaceful and calming
But BOY do I miss it.
A lot has been written about ‘online fatigue’ and its effects on people, but for writers it seems to be a double-edged sword. Much as we want to be off-line, to think, nay, to CONCENTRATE better, there remains a need for us to be there, in the midst of all the hurly-burly. Almost like Jack Kerouac and the Beats gathering at a coffee shop in the Village, discussing love and art and writing. Only they didn’t get eye strain and Carpel Tunnel syndrome from sitting behind a Laptop for hours on end.
Still, the question remains; can you live with the internet, and still live without it if you have to? Is there such a thing as moderation? Can we dole out our online time to natural levels and still be productive? Don’t know. As I mentioned, I get addicted at times, and it gets hard to stop. Discipline: That is the cheese!
May The Good News Be Yours
Despite the absence of internet, I have managed a daily writing regimen of 5-10 pages a day. It’s been nice. The new writing space probably has something to do with it. I have an actual office now, instead of a desk shoved between the bed and the closet. And there’s a constant breeze blowing in off the Lake (No, I’m not living on a tropical isle) and the spirit of this place seems a lot more calm and writerly. This bodes well, for I intend to write my novel, or get it finished at least, in the next few months. Huzzah to change, change is good.
Have to make this post short and sweet: it’s a beautiful summer day out there and I want to go out in it. There’s still breakfast to make – and orange juice to drink. Be well fellow writers.
I remain, David Hunter