Saturday, July 18, 2009

Life sans Computer

Ghost Notes the Audio Book is now available! You can order it here.

So, my laptop went down on me last week.

No warning. It just froze up, the little arrow refusing to move on my screen. I took it to the Mac Doctor, who said, "For $355 we can send it away to Mac, and they'll replace whatever's wrong."

This was a week ago, and while deciding what to do I've been making due with my Crackberry, my wife's clunky old iMac desktop, and going without.

Not having your main computer is kind of a revealing experience. At first, I was bummed, frustrated. I couldn't do just what I wanted when I wanted to do it. I had to fight my way through a little faux anxiety. "What's my Facebook status? And I can't remember what my Twitter page says?" There were work-related things I couldn't allow to slip through the cracks--like my current work-in-progress, and an incoming email from an editor--but after a few times of losing important work to computer gremlins I've become hyper-vigilant with archiving, and the Crackberry made sure I didn't miss any important emails. I was covered.

By mid-week, I found myself hardly missing the computer. I had other, non-computer business to attend to, and it was nice to have the time to focus on it.

Then, a couple of days ago, I caught myself doing something amazing.

It was eight in the morning on a work day. I'd just finished exercising and was waiting my turn at the shower. Not wanting to get on anything but my own computer, I picked up a novel from the stack that sits in my office, books I'd bought but hadn't yet read. I read a few pages of it before it hit me.

I'm standing in my office reading a novel at eight o'clock in the morning, and I'm enjoying it.

I realized that so much of my leisure time had been eaten away by the computer. Many of those little corners of my life when I might do something like read a novel had disappeared. The computer is a great tool, but it's also pretty insidious. I have no doubt we'll be reading about computer addiction in the news for the rest of our lives.

Of course, I need a computer--much of the work I do on it really matters--but much of it really doesn't. Like any technology, the key is not to allow the bad in with the good. Just because you own a car doesn't mean you have to take it to the corner grocery store.

I'm getting a new computer today. The Mac Store will be a thousand bucks richer, and I a thousand lighter, but I have to wonder if I'm fooling myself. What if I didn't buy a computer? Would I still find a way to do the things that are important to me? Would I write my novel? Would I get my freelance work done? Would I keep in touch with friends family? I guess I'll never know.

Yours in laying down the law,


Buy Ghost Notes, the novel or brand new audio book.

Buy Songs from Memory, the album

Buy Stuck Outside of Phoenix, the novel

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