Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Part of the Matrix Again

I just got back from my writing retreat, and damn, I have to say that I am an Internet junkie, moreso than I thought I was. There was a wireless connection at the retreat center I was at, but it was a good 100 yard walk from my little cabin, and I was trying to wean myself from the addiction, so I only used it three times while I was there. But then again, I was only there for three days so I pretty much used it everyday. It's funny, because I pride myself on being a Gen-Xer who still knows how to ask for directions and use a (paper!) map versus relying on Mapquest or a GPS device, but I have to say that I'm disturbed by how dependent I feel on DSL. Ick.

Maybe I need to put myself on an Internet diet. My friend Julie Davidson-Gomez did this once and blogged about it. Sounds intriguing. I'm super-dependent on email at work, and because of how we're set up, with several offices all over the state, it would be pretty hard not to use email for a couple days, but on the weekends there really isn't a real reason for me to use the Internet. I mean, I could check my bank account balance via phone, I can actually CALL people---texting is sort of cheating, but technically isn't not email, right?--instead of emailing them, i could actually just use the phone to find out the hours of a certain store I want to go to. Remember that thing called a landline? Yes, I could actually even use one of those.

Hmph. It's an interesting concept. I'd like to play with it more. I am proud to say that without 24-hour access to an Internet connection I was able to get a lot done, including tons of writing, and still not feel very bored the rest of the time. I read a lot, I listened to music (okay, I didn't stop using my computer for things other than writing--that would be too much to ask!) and I actually paid attention to the little sounds of nature around me, and of course, to the quiet. That was so soothing to this stressed-out, over-stimulated city chick.

No promises now, but maybe in a week or so I'll try to 'unplug' just from the Internet for a couple days. We'll see how it goes.

4 comments:

elijabetgrace said...

but it's ironic that your friend logged onto the internet to blog about disconnected from the internet...kikiki. it's ok...give in...if we didn't give into technology we'ld still be using smoke signals to communicate across many distances. see now, i know what's going on with you and your all the way in the bay area and i'm all the way over here in korea.

New Haiku said...

Yeah, right! Not to be at all pessimistic on ya, but I wonder if the internet, used properly, couldn't actually improve our ability to write, to concentrate on stuff? (I used to have to hoof it up to the local branch of the Philly library to get info when I was doing research papers, etc (not that the exercise hurt!).

It's just a tool...if we didn't have it maybe we'd have to develop ESP or other psychic abilities...

Anyway, I'm just checking in on ya! Maybe I need to start writing more myself...

Rona Fernandez said...

Shoot...for some reason my original comment didn't save--see the limits of technology? ;) But seriously though one of the reasons I wrote this blogpost and probably will continue to write more about this subject is not because I think we should abandon the Internet. Of course the Internet and technology in general have many beneficial uses for humankind. It's our increasing over-dependence on especially electricity-reliant technology that makes me nervous. I have a friend who recently said that she just wrote a paper for school without ever having picked up a book. We have a generation of young people growing up in this country who probably don't know how to use an index because all their research is done online, and who are becoming less and less able to focus on the present because they carry laptops everywhere, chat on IM when they are supposedly taking notes in class, and are constantly text messaging or doing multiple things at once. I don't think technology alone is bad. It's what over-reliance on technology does to our ability as humans to adapt. And with climate change rapidly changing the world around us, I really believe that those of us in the First World who are so dependent on technology are going to be far less prepared to deal with the coming challenges than those folks in the Third World that actually know how to farm, live off the land and just frickin' survive without a T1 connection. I'm going to write more about this in my fiction and non-fiction, but I welcome more of your thoughts.

New Haiku said...

Ah, yes, I missed your point, but not completely. I agree that there are greatly important negative consequences on people, especially those young people that have no familiarity with the card index of their local library. I'll certainly confess my love affair with books and my fond memories of hours lost (interesting choice of a word) in the stacks in both the main branch of the Philadelphia Free Library and it's East Falls branch. I dare say that most of the so-called intelligence I am ever able to publicly evidence is a direct result of those hours.

I can also see how the time I spend away from my computer actually helps me grow both mentally and emotionally as an artist, a writer if I dare say it. Real life happens far beyond the glow of the screen. I also find that using a pen and my journal produces phrases and sentences I love to read and am surprised to know I have written.

And that the computer serves to help me spread any of that work. Like I said it's a tool.

But so was harnessing the energy of the atom. So was the mechanization of agriculture. I could go on...I look forward to your analysis and story telling around this. And, should we be so fortunate, I also look forward to reading both in a book or magazine held in my hands. Hands, I confess, would have to struggle to plant and grow food that would sustain myself! Hmmm, I suspect I'll be looking up some info about gardening...