Sunday, March 11, 2012

Confessions of a Luddite

If someone broke into our house looking for electronics to steal, they'd be sorely disappointed. We have a VCR, a 14-year-old DVD player, a decade-old TV that has a tube in the back and everything, a hand-me-down laptop from my husband, and cell phones that do nothing but make calls and send texts. The husband has a couple more up-to-date gadgets, but nothing near what most people have. We don't have cable/satellite; we have a little digital box but it hasn't been hooked up to the TV for over a year.

It's not that we can't afford an HD flat screen, a dozen gaming systems and iPads/iPods/MacBooks/iPhones. We just don't see a need to fix things that aren't broken. I noticed the other day that our sheets- both sets, both wedding gifts from seven years back- have ink stains and holes in them. Certainly we can afford new sheets, it just never occurred to us that we needed more than two sets until the ones we had wore out.

For me, social media is the same way. I'm pretty connected: this blog, my Facebook page (private) and a Google + account (public, so feel free to put me in one of your circles). But I don't get some forms of social media. Twitter seems utterly pointless to me; why would I want to monitor a bunch of people I don't even know, to be updated every time something occurs to them? Does anyone really want to hear about the holes in my sheets? The tacos I made for dinner? That I'm watching a movie on Netflix?

I don't play any MMORPGs. I do play Harvest Moon, a sweet little game where you have to build a successful farm, three times a week for about 30 minutes a pop. I post on two message boards. Compared to much of the Western world, we are downright primitive.

Writing by its very nature is a solitary exercise. In order to do it properly, you have to cut yourself off for a while. A writer may have a blog, be on Google +, Facebook, Livejournal, Twitter, whatever other network is flavor of the week right now, have an iPhone, iPad, whatever. But in order to do our job, we have to be alone. We have to switch it all off. And in my opinion, the more time a writer spends promoting themselves on all these sites and networks, the less time they have to do what actually matters. The less time they have to withdraw and work. I have considerably less to switch off than other writers I know, and for that I am grateful. When the future hits and we all have out brains wired directly into the Net (ala Ghost in the Shell), I think I'll decline, thanks.

Does not having the latest this and the newest that make me a Luddite? Maybe. Does it make me a better writer? I have no idea. But it does make my life a hell of a lot more peaceful. And who cares if my phone only makes calls and my sheets have ink stains on them? They work just fine. And so do I.

No comments:

Post a Comment