08 September 2011

The Allure of Time Killers

It is now September and I am feeling pressure to post the first blog of the month. Strange sensation, the pull of words! The push of perusers! The tickle of the morning light and how it calls the fingers to the keyboard even before the mind has formed thoughts, translated them into language, and sent them along the neural pathways to the fingertips. And yet...I'm doing it. It is less than an addiction, more than OCD.

These days, it seems, especially now that my so-called day job has exploded into a full-time monstrosity, a certain portion of each day must be spent on connecting to one's myriad electronic venues. There has always been email to check, and the more accounts one has--each for its own nefarious purpose, no doubt--but now there is also Facebook and its multiple personas to monitor and manage, and the same perhaps for MySpace, Tumblr, and other similar "social networking" sites. (I wish I had coined that term; could be making billions off the rights by now!) Plus Twitter--again with several separate accounts. Now there's Google+ which I'm still not sure how to operate. And for writers and readers, there are plenty of sites online such as Goodreads, of which I have recently become a member. I have also joined a site for those interested in Steampunk, a genre or sub-genre (no fights, please) of science-fiction or utopian/dystopian fiction. And don't get me started on all the blogs my friends and a few strangers have created, maintain, and add to often enough, occasionally intriguing or amusing me.

I find myself getting up earlier now than I really need to just to get myself ready for a weekday's normal effort simply to be able to check everything. I need to be sure the world is safe for social networking. I need to be certain that my previous comments have been commented on--or rejected--or, worse, ignored. I shun arguments on Walls--unless I'm right and everyone knows it. I must check that things are happening, that political views are in balance, that social issues are being taken care of by someone, someone other than me. And, for good measure, I usually check them all again, in order or perhaps only the most critical ones, before logging off and leaving for the day's Grand Illusion.

I feel refreshed, confident, relaxed, knowing that I have checked in, that my field of audiences have been informed that I still exist. (Some are no doubt surprised.) Perhaps that fact alone is enough to compel some to socially dismiss the network in favor of the other, older networks: what used to be the visual arena of ideas and entertainment, expanded a thousandfold. Yes, I speak of television, that splintered soul now languishing in the wastelands of electronica, hanging on for dear life with dancers and singers and Hollywood mavens of malevolence, or whatever else can be stood in front of a camera and later mocked. (It's endless, of course.)

And so there remains, for an escape, the ancient art of linguistic scribbles pressed into wood shavings. I refer to the ubiquitous book. Such pleasures I have known with a good book between my hands! Such adventures I have fled the world to enrapture myself in! And still, that paradise, that comfy bed of brain bliss, even that venue is changing! Yes, the sacred objet-d'art is joining the electronic universe! With a few tweaks and more than a few reconsiderations ("Do I really want to say that? Will anyone actually read this?"), any book written today may be sent through the vast airwaves to a handheld mechanical device upon which one's eyes may come to focus for pleasure, perversion, or perhaps a person's private pontification. The possibilities are perfectly pointless.

However, this is not the place (though it may seem to be, being one of those electronic utopias about which I rant) for a discussion of the nature of the newest Age of Books. (No, I'm not cynical; I'm Stephen.)

I must now click the "post" button and make my words part of the universe--praying that someday, some far-away intellectual fool on a far-away world, in some random, slavish moment of silence comes to encounter these words, translate them into ideas, and thereby know that I existed, once upon a very long time ago, a time which was less fairy tale than instructional manual, and closes its eye(s) in delightful calm after a good night's fine contemplation.

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