Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Bad Techno-romance

A lot has changed in my life since my book came out. I started substitute teaching. My running time has slowed to something just above a walk. (I continue to call it running because I am breathing hard.) Three years ago, I created a Facebook page-- ostensibly to help create some momentum for the Lancaster Literary Guild web page. In reality, the Facebook page, along with the iPhone I got around the same time, has reshaped my daily life. Whereas previously, I could not even remember to take my cell phone with me-- I now keep a death-grip on the thing. My electronic self and physical self are Siamese Twins. Of course, I had to buy an iPad. My new obsession only larger. For my ADD mind, these devices are both saint and demon. They help me with the tasks I need to plow through, but I believe that they have also rewired my brain so that I have an even greater difficulty focusing and being present. When it comes to details, I am slipping. I had a great memory for details, but now my husband says I am unreliable if we are talking about anything in the last 3 years. I am still allowed to win arguments when the facts in the case date prior to 2009.

More recently, I have begun to see technology as a Hydra monster. As soon as I master one branch of it, nine new offshoots take its place. Helping my son through his college search, planning a family vacation to Europe. I can find any information I want, but ultimately that information leads me down five other paths until I have a hard time finding my way out. Enter into this a new mission to make my author self a force in the digital world. I am overwhelmed. It isn't enough to have Twitter and Facebook and a web page; they must all be linked. I need to create creative, dynamic content. I recently talked (who am I kidding?—we conversed on Facebook inbox.) to an author friend of mine. She said that she spends more time on social media than actual writing. That thought almost sent me to live under my covers. It isn't that I don't like Facebook. I do. I am thinking of having the post office forward my mail there. But the thought that the world of writing has evolved into this computer game where you rack up points for followers and only have so many lives to keep in the game is scary and unappealing.

I finished reading A Moveable Feast by Hemingway. I was reading it because we are getting ready to journey to Paris. When I think about the romance of Paris, it will forever include images of writers sitting in cafes with their cafe crèmes and their notebooks with a few sharp pencils and their own words for company. That is something to long for. This longing for stillness, for knowing our own minds and finding out our own identities under this madness of technology, is a theme in the novel I am writing. If the world keeps spinning the way it is, I think it will wind up in the fantasy section.

1 comment:

Mary Jane said...

Jill, I love how you describe technology as a Hydra monster. Up until now, my family has contented themselves with cell phones that are just that--phones. No texting, no internet. For Christmas Andrew got an iPad and since then, I find the pull of technology almost too strong to resist. Just the other day, I told my husband that we all need iPads and iPhones.
I live in a conflicted world--I wanted to live a "Leave it to Beaver" life, simple and sweet, yet I am sucked into the desire to have what everyone else has.