Saturday, September 24, 2011

Only Connect

Reading Ms Baroque’s latest post this morning; one of the things she speaks about is how difficult it is to keep up with everything in the poetry world and having a finger on the pulse as to who is doing what, let alone getting anything written. Sometimes I wonder how I would be living if I hadn’t needed to negotiate with M.E./CFIDS for the past quarter of a century or so. It can baffle me, in any case, to think of how anyone gets anything done, and with the virtual world making it so easy to be instantly in touch with what is happening, it is easy to lose that shut-away state of being that you need in order to dive deep into the well of your own creative source.

There are times I long to be one of those who can flit from one point of focus to another with a kind of perpetually adjustable tunnel vision: now I am chopping the parsley and coriander for a kedgeree; now I am working on my novel-in-progress; now I am moving into the substance of a poem or arranging the contents of my sock drawer. This last is for illustration - I do not have a sock drawer, but if I were such a person then perhaps I would have one.

I know a writer who describes herself as having ADHD and believes that it is a blessing in her case because it gives her the ability to do many things. She brings tunnel-vision to whatever it is that she is working on and can achieve much more than most in twenty minutes. How useful this would be. But I am not one of those and require a substantial amound of dream-time, which you might think I have in abundance, but I separate good-quality dream-time from laid-up ill-time where thinking is scrambled and one is too much in the body, with its delinquent demands and malfunctions.

And where, in all this, does social networking fit in? Earlier in the year I joined Facebook and now it is Twitter. Last night I watched snippets from Old Grey Whistle Test on BBC4 and began tweeting about it! Why? Because it was fun, is the obvious answer. With the hash tag thing, I saw who else was tweeting, made a sparky connection with someone I don’t know and most likely won’t see again - we shared a moment that brought a smile to each of us, is all - is enough. But there is another impulse: I want to feel connected - whatever that might mean - to the world as it is now. I don’t think social networking is necessary for this but it is something that offers itself easily. I can’t physically zip about to poetry and other cultural events, but I can to some extent keep up with what is happening in a way that would not otherwise be possible. Yes, sometimes I very much love the internet. And sometimes I am very much aware that I have to be careful not to lose myself in it, remember that Notebook is my best friend, steady and true, always giving my proper reflection back to me, waiting and listening with a golden ear for the words that come into its pages.

“We are in it for the long haul,” says London smoke-friend. And the loneliness of the long-distance writer, especially when there is no end yet in sight, and no guarantee at all that persistence will bring what the world calls success, is something to be nourished and embraced.

I am still learning about the Mac. Had my first lesson at the Apple store yesterday with a courteous but slightly bored young geek and there was something about him slightly at odds with the cult-like upbeatness of the Apple environment. I have retained a fraction of what he taught me. We will no doubt cross paths again.



Fire Bird said...

so err, where *do* you keep your socks?

Reading the Signs said...

Fire Bird, I just knew that the sock thing would come up. Well I have this basket you see, and it sits on my cobbled-together IKEA shelves. So yes - what I have is a sock basket. It is full of socks that I mostly don't wear any more. I am probably giving far too much information ....

Reading the Signs said...

- and the sock basket is not just for socks. I should have mentioned this at the outset. It is mostly a place for things I don't know what to do with - as well as socks. Right. I think I have given a reply that is satisfactory - illuminating, even.

Zhoen said...

In earlier generations, it was writing letters every morning. Took a lot longer to get a response.

I have two sock drawers. One for my work socks, and undershirt camisoles for work. The other for all other socks.

Fire Bird said...

this basket sounds fascinating - 'things I don't know what to do with' could include so many possibilities... all co-existing with your unloved socks. and does this mean you have given up socks... almost...? or does it mean that there is some other secret location in which the socks you *do* wear are to be found? i require further illumination. and a poem?

And tell me how do you get bold and italics into your comments??

Reading the Signs said...

Zhoen I used to fancy that email would revive the old art of letter-writing and felt quite disappointed that this didn't seem to be happening. Perhaps one of the reasons I began blogging.

Fire Bird, I haven't actually looked too closely at the contents of the sock basket for - I don't want to consider how long. Yes, there are unloved socks, silk scarves that ought to be loved but are somehow - rather literally - on the shelf. And don't get me started on the knicker and bra basket - or why the two should go together.

I'm being asked something techie - how fab!

Reading the Signs said...

FB, I've tried a couple of times to tell you how to do it, but it just ends up highlighting what I've said if I put the actual html!

for bold you put the letter b between < and > before the word/s and then again, but with the addition of / before the final >

- and the same process for italics but with letter i

hope this makes sense

Digitalesse said...

The internet has been a fantastic development for people like us who let's face it, 'don't get out much', but it's also a terrible distraction and time thief. And in our case we can also add 'energy drain' to the lists of pros and cons.

Being online and connected has been a great way of sharing my interest in photography and 'meeting' like-minded others. I like to make contact with PWME who are making art of any description as I think there is an appreciation and acknowledgement of the effort it takes us.

Glad to hear you made it to the Apple Store for your Mac lesson. As you probably remember, I was the owner of the online ME/CFS Mac User Group but it didn't really go anywhere. There were too few active members and my interest has waned.

Reading the Signs said...

Digi, that's very true, there is a price to pay for being 'connected' in this way and one can so easily lose the benefits. I vow to have computerless days.

Yes, I remember your Mac project now! I can now get unlimited lessons with Apple for a year. Good because I will only retain a fraction at each session. But the question is: can I get myself there?!

Fire Bird said...

great! I shall try this next time I feel bold (or italic)

WV - dusty

Digitalesse said...

I don't know about the Brighton store but the Apple stores in London are not what I'd call ME-friendly. I find video tutorials a very good way to learn and keep my skills up-to-date. I prefer to watch how it's done and then have a go myself.

I'm sure you'll get the hang of the Mac way of doing things, but it can feel like you're on very unfamiliar territory when you are used to another system and switch over. I can muddle my way around Windows but it feels a bit like when you go into a shop you know well and discover they've re-arranged all the shelves and aisles and you can't find anything.

But so far, so good. You're online and posting and so on, so you're getting on all right.