Saturday, February 20, 2010

Most Economical with Energy

Well, a few words on not blogging.  Or maybe more precisely, on avoiding the internet.  It's impossible, isn't it?  But I'm trying to put it at the bottom of my list, rather than let it take over.  The whole internet thing has occupied my mind, sometimes in fruitful ways, but I'm trying to be mindful of those times when it is less than fruitful, and especially when it infringes on creative thinking. 

I was introduced to someone recently who said, Oh, you're that prolific writer!  Hmm.  That comment started me off on a train of thought, which reminded me of a book I love - White Ink, which is interviews with Helene Cixous.  I've quoted from it before, (complained about the whole prolific thing before, too).  And even this quotation in particular:  "Oddly enough, I notice that fecundity is often a cause for reproach.  I've always found it extraordinary that fecundity or fertility is often something critics accuse certain people of."  She goes on, "Fecundity is the creative person's natural state.  The more pertinent question is that of what inhibits it?" 

So, yes, I was finding that the combination of Facebook, blogging, engaging, reading other blogs, and generally noodling around too much on the internet was eating into my writing time.  I recently found this post by Noah Richler (via CanCult) on time, and that took me back again to the Cixous book.  Richler says, "Don’t waste precious time answering e-mails or surfing the web for headlines or a bit of permissible peeping first thing in the morning."  (Remember when it was just the email that sucked time away from writing? I used to be pretty decent at leaving it until afternoon and must remember how to do that - maybe I should read this). 

Cixous on why she doesn't use the internet:  "I need to retire, I need silence in order to write - and yes, I need information, but selected information, and for that I prefer the pace of books, which are at my body's speed." 

Here is what I have been doing while attempting to minimize (failing, too) my internet use.  Consistently writing every morning.  Sometimes rising at 5am when I can't sleep anyway.  Even if I only write for an hour before getting ready for work.  When circumstances intervene and this doesn't happen for days in a row, I begin to lose the thread, the clay hardens.  I become miserable, desperate, agitated.  Pathetic really.  I know that I write more, better, the more I am able to avoid the internet.

And yet I don't want to completely give it up.  Would that even be possible?  I like my FB friends, I like reading blogs.  I get most of my news from the internet.  So much of my research related to the current project is web based.  At the same time I'd be scared to death to find out how many hours I've logged on this machine (aside from the writing part) in the last few years. 

I honestly have little willpower when it comes to the internet but am trying to remedy that.  I'm hitting the log-out button, and often just power the computer down. Have been re-reading my favorite obscure books, writing with a pen as much as possible.  I've been giving the ILL (interlibrary loan) system a work-out.  And, I've posted this quotation above my desk:  "Work, work!...Don't waste a moment...Calm yourself, quiet yourself, master your senses.  Work, work!  Just dress in old clothes, eat simple food...feign ignorance, appear inarticulate.  This is most economical with energy, yet effective."  (7th c. Chan Buddhist master Hongren). 

Okay, so this has mainly been a reminder to myself, an explanation of sorts, as to why I've been blog-avoiding.  But I also wanted to remind myself of the cool connections, links and lovely bits one can accumulate on one's blog.  So here's one that relates to two of my obsessions:  purses and books.