I was fine before Facebook. I had friends. I made connections. I was fine before my cellphone. Nobody died because I missed a call. My life wasn't ruined because I missed a call. I was fine before email. I used the MAIL. I was fine before my computer. I used a typewriter I used a pen and PAPER.
I love using a word processor. I love having access to information about anything whenever I want it. I do not want to lose these things, but I have to figure out how to use them instead of letting them own me. They are tools. They should not be obsessions.
A lot of this, the obsession with checking my email at least, has been about submissions and waiting for replies to my submissions. I check and check and recheck. My friend Jenny does it too. I'm assuming that many writers do the same thing. But really. What will happen if I check my email once a day? Or once every two days? Or once a week? Will I lose my chance at fame? Will I lose the one chance to further my literary career? Really.
But this is just one of the things I want to change, will change. I have become accustomed to having the TV on all the time. I have it on right now, Law and Order SVU. I can't bear the thought of giving my undivided attention to anything I'm doing. I demand I crave distraction and that distraction is driving me batty.
I used to read. A lot. I always read. A LOT. But now I don't. I don't because I have the TV on. I don't because I get on my computer and dick around and waste time while I have the TV on. I can see that some of this would be okay. IF I actually enjoyed it. But it's gotten to the point that I cannot concentrate, even when I'm enjoying myself. And it's not just me. That's apparent.
Everywhere I go people have their phones out checking and checking, sometimes reading or making notes, sometimes laughing and sharing whatever is on their screen with their companion. But often, it's just someone glued to the screen in their hand.
Dale and I take our phones out when we go to dinner out. We take our phones downstairs when we're going to watch a movie. Sometimes this is great because we can look up information whenever we want. But for me, it's gotten a little scary.
Now, when I do watch a movie, I can't actually concentrate on the movie. Sometimes this is because I can't resist checking my phone for...whatever it is I'm checking for. Sometimes it's because I'll see an actor who is this actor I know his face I recognize her voice and, while I'm watching the movie, I will do a quick search and satisfy my curiosity. I cannot watch a movie without the itchy jittery must check must do something else while I'm doing this......I am losing the ability to concentrate the ability to enjoy myself.
The solution is very simple. I see that of course. But getting to that point.....I have uninstalled Facebook on my phone. I have uninstalled Twitter and Instagram. I have uninstalled instant messenger. I have installed magazines and media that interests me. But how to I get from here, to there?
The problem is that the word DISCIPLINE makes me crazy. And angry. Rage. I have tried to be disciplined all my life and I cannot do it. I am like Meg with the Tesseract. I can only accomplish things obliquely, I must blink I must turn away I must not dwell I must wink and breathe in and let go. This is the only way. Ever.
So I will think of being quiet of maybe being free. Like clouds. I will think of clouds. I will unmoor my boat and float out into the channel and watch the fog roll across the water. I will let go and let God let me let the great collection of us the one of us breathe I will let us pray me I will let the water take me. While I stop obsessing. While I stop making myself unhappy.
Jane Eyre's cousin, I should know here name, turned into a very severe woman who took the money she had saved up over the years (her brother John had frittered away the estate) and took to the convent, not because she gave a wit for God, but because she wanted the order. The order. Every hour its task. How beautiful. How very terrifying. That is what I've always thought I SHOULD have. I almost went into the military to get it. But I didn't because I would have had to sign James over to my parents.
I just want to relax and read a book or watch a movie with my whole heart. It's been so long since I've done anything with my whole heart.