First up apologies to the people who commented yesterday but whose comments did not get moderated till today. This happened because I take Sundays off. I don’t touch my computer unless it’s a real work emergency and the only writing I do is with a pen and paper. I don’t go near a screen unless to watch a little TV. The only gadget I make an exception for is my Kindle and that is basically because all I can do on it is read.
I started doing this because my RSI and computer related health problems got really bad and I figured, correctly as it turned out, that not going near the computer for 36 hours or so– a full day and an overnight– would help. I keep doing it because I find it relaxing and oddly nostalgic. Every Sunday I think this is what life was like before the Internet. It’s like visiting a different planet.
There are no instant-on distractions. I need to hunt around for something to do, read a book, fidget, tidy the place, go for a walk. Suddenly there is time to fill. I can’t just sit down in front of a screen and kill a couple of hours with random surfing, or head out to Azeroth for a spot of PvP, or, heavens forbid, actually do some writing in Scrivener. I don’t moderate blog posts or answer emails or look at Facebook. If I miss something, somewhere on the Internet, I miss something.
I am of an age where I can remember when my whole life was like this. I can remember actually going for walks because I could think of nothing better to do. (I did that at the weekend too). Last week I read an interview with Steve Jobs where he praised the value of boredom. You know something — I think the man had a point. Sometimes we need to just sit still and do nothing and maybe even just think. In the Internet Age it’s very easy just to switch your brain off and surf. Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to look inwards. Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to be bounced out of your usual routine either.
So what did I do on Sunday? I walked around Prague for a couple of hours. It’s a beautiful city and all you need to do is look up and you can see some amazingly beautiful things. There are streets where every building is a work of art. (As an aside, one good way of appreciating the value of human effort is to walk around a city like Prague– any city really– and remember that there was a time when all of this was just a few huts. People built everything you see around you and they made it work. I think this every time I walk across Charles Bridge and look up at Prague Castle. I am a creature of routine, I know) What else did I do? I finished Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (enjoyed it and I can see why he was picked by the Jordan estate to finish the Wheel of Time series) and I read another book from cover to cover– The Man on the Boulevard by Georges Simenon, very good it was too. I went to a lovely French style cafe with my wife. It was a good day. And now it’s Monday and back to work.