After I posted about my doubts about my blogging, describing how I’d written about something that a piece of news had sparked in me…and in the rest of the world, I came upon a mention of William Powers, whose book Hamlet’s Blackberry discusses our new reliance on technology and how, like all things in life, we need to find a way to utilize it to our benefit, in moderation, rather than submit ourselves to its tyranny. I’d read mention of the book in The New Yorker, etc., on Leonard Lopate, etc., and found it mildly interesting, but sort of nothing I didn’t know already. I love technology. I have kids. We all struggle with these issues.
Today, however, I listened to his interview with Leonard Lopate, with Katie Couric and with PBS (links here on Mr. Powers’ website), and if ever I have felt near to having an (oh-my-god I can’t believe I’m even saying this!) ah-ha moment, it was when he described that feeling of unease, of feeling that his head is crowded. He described how, as a writer, he felt his writing, his own thinking was becoming derivative, that he was so immersed in the crowd that he’d lost some of his ability for original thought. He spoke of being unable to read a novel in the way he used to, to focus on his research. To focus. To connect deeply.
His solution? To selectively disconnect. I suppose it’s something I’ve been trying to figure out for awhile now, how to find that balance, but I think his talk of derivative thought and of being unable to lose himself in a novel really made me realize that there is an urgency to my figuring it out, for time is passing and I am flailing a bit, wasting a lot of energy finding a place to land.