I can’t write on a machine that doesn’t have internet.
My best friends are ones I would/could never touch. That is comforting.
Why is that comforting?
Really interesting, good things are happening.
Blake Butler wrote a post earlier this week that I found very moving. It felt like something I knew well but hadn't put into words or hadn't thought about analytically.
The essay is titled An Unnecessary Consideration of How 10+ Years of Daily Writing Has Changed My Wiring, Which I wish I'd considered Before I started Even If I Wouldn't Have Understood.
The essay is about what it means to interact with your computer, about what intensive interactions do to you. Blake talks about a kind of pain he feels when when having conversations with real humans, like a kind of immediate need to end conversations almost off the bat. I feel like this all the time. I often sit down in a staffroom with other professionals and look around and wonder what it is I'm missing. I feel like I can't really meld with whatever it is they are caught up in. I usually end up sitting on my Iphone reading HTML GIANT or looking for things to jolt me on Facebook.
What the essay made me think about was just what kind of job it was to be a 'writer'. I don't know. I feel like I shouldn't even be writing this. Blake put it better than I can. Part of writing seems to be this game of communicating with other writers and feeling out the scene. There are times during the year when writers coalesce and meet one another face-to-face, but most of the time it seems that the realm of online/indie/lit/writing/fiction operates around hubs like HTML GIANT, Facebook, Twitter and every writer's personal blog.
I think about how fulfilled I am by whatever it is this online arena is offering but at the same time I worry because in truth, I find the online writing community intensely more fulfilling than any actual social community I have outside of the internet. Maybe this is why I drink so much in my real life. Maybe this is why I am always writing things like 'I have a problem' and thinking things like 'I don't want to exist'.
Last week I did an interview with Frances Dinger and she asked me how long I spend on the computer a day. I said 3 hours. I re-read that interview and thought more about what I said. Why did I say that? That's not true.
Every day if I don’t get to sit with the machine at least three good hours, and preferably closer to six or as many as ten, I feel like I have not lived.
Here is the reality of things: I get up and I turn on my Iphone and I check all of my emails on all of my email accounts. I look for red things on Facebook. I look at what's trending on twitter. I'm still in bed. I get up and I go to the bathroom and usually respond to a few emails. I finish up in the bathroom. I bring my laptop to the kitchen and make breakfast. I check my website and then the 10 main websites that I always check every morning. I eat blueberries with chopsticks so as to not get my keyboard keys purpled- like before. I am always late leaving for work because I stay on the internet to long reading and liking things. At work I check my email constantly throughout the day. I'm afraid of 'getting to know' coworkers. I have 20 Scrabble games going on at once. I get home and I run back to the laptop and start over. I drink so much coffee. If it is a Friday I will interact with my roommates while on the computer. They do the same things. They too are pulled into their own respective online worlds.
One of my roommates is a musician. I can't tell you how often I see her sucked into that online world. We sometimes just sit for hours smoking and drinking coffee listening to dueling songs off of our laptops, listening to our own fingers clicking, having disjointed comment-conversations with one another, smiling in the glow of our own screens, never looking at one another's eyes. This is my life. I feel like Blake summed it up. I'm re-wired.
Anyways. This entire post is pointless. I'm writing it because it feels authentic to write something and post it on the internet. I'll hide this sentiment from everyone that I know. 2-3 people that I know online will probably read this. That sounds rude, but I feel good about it. I feel like I will read something of theirs if they say they liked this. We will become closer through our respective idiosyncrasies.
Is it like junkies hanging out? Is this art? What does it mean that so many writer's are able to e-hang out with one another now? Will Sam Pink ever email me out of the blue? Will Tao Lin ever email me out of the blue? Will I send this to Blake, or tag his name in it over Facebook or will he come and seek it out on his own? Will he read it? Will he think this is stupid? Did I write this just for him to see? Did I write this to feel better? What are my immediate motivations? Do I hate myself more for writing this? Do I believe anything that I actually do?