I’m a pretty heavy internet user. Between my Facebook trolling and daily blog writing, I spend a decent amount of time each evening looking up weird shit to stimulate my imagination. I think it might be having the opposite intended effect.
After an hour of looking at content on the internet, my brain feels like my ass does after I eat at Taco Bell: vaguely satisfied, but closer to death and physically & existentially crippled. If I juxtapose this to time I spend walking outside, taking with smart friends, going to the gym, reading an actual book, it becomes clear I should step away.
I was listening to Marc Maron interview Louis C.K. the other day (on the internet! I can’t quit!) and he was recounting the story of how he made his new show, Horace & Pete. I love to hear how the sausage gets made for creative projects and it did not disappoint. One thing that stuck with me was an anecdote he told about trying to get Jack Nicholson to play a role on his show.
He made his pitch and Nicholson asked him, “do you know what I did today?”
C.K. said, “no, what?”
Nicholson replied, “I sat under a tree and read a book cover to cover. Then I went inside.”
That’s pretty much my idea of a perfect day. I’m willing to bet Nicholson spends no time at all on the internet reading about alt-right conspiracy theories and vegan propaganda. He probably has an awesome life. I can’t even remember the last time I had a day to burn reading a book cover to cover. I usually have to squeeze my books in on the side like they’re mistresses.
I don’t think I will continue daily blogging after my 365 day project is up, but I will write everyday. I’m hoping to identify some theme or direction to write about, then dive into that full steam, offline. I might publish once a week or put out longer pieces through Kindle publishing. Who knows?
I do know that when I write out my goals and ideal schedules “mindlessly surf the internet and argue with strangers” is never on there. I always do best quitting bad habits cold turkey, but I don’t even know what my life would be like if I completely unplugged from the internet. I imagine I’d lose touch with some people, but others I’d probably spend more time with.
The freest period of my life was between 2000 and 2001. I didn’t have a computer. I didn’t own a phone. I was in between homes a couple of times (though not for long). And I was really happy. When I wanted to see people, I’d go where I thought some of them might be. If I was tired, I just slept. If I wanted to go somewhere, I just got on my motorcycle and went. If it broke down, I didn’t go on some forum, I asked someone I knew for help or pushed the motherfucker home.
All these anxieties I’m talking about here are absolutely pedestrian. And being against the internet is in some relation to being against progress and the global community. I’m fine with that, but I also have a serious case of FOMO when it comes to the goings on in the digital world. I do get a certain pleasure in knowing about obscure shit before anyone IRL does. But it never actually does a thing for me.
This is quickly devolving into a directionless word salad. This is probably the biggest hazard of daily blogging. Most of it will be unpolished, solipsistic, and petty. Those might be good words to describe myself when I’m being less than generous to my inner child.