Brat Farrar (bratfarrar) wrote,
Brat Farrar

On living a less connected life

In private conversation I have from time to time compared myself to an attempting-to-reform alcoholic sleeping with a bottomless beer keg next to their bed.

In my case, the bottomless beer keg is the internet, and O how I do despise who I become when drunk on it even as I cherish the connections it's allowed me to make, the motivation it's provided to actually write and complete stories and poetry--the music I've found, the art I've discovered, the fiction I've devoured.

But the latter is the problem, because without some sort of inescapable external limit, I don't merely devour fiction, I gorge myself on it, use "one more chapter, one more story" as an excuse for blatant sloth, become utterly distracted from writing my own fiction. And the things I do wind up reading ...! No matter how beautiful the beginning of my path, I always seem to end in a cesspool.

This is not me swearing off fanfiction, fandom, the internet. But this is me admitting I have a set of pretty serious sins that all seem to be flourishing thanks to my inability or unwillingness to use the internet as a limited tool instead of a kind of drug or dreamland. I can't bring myself to state it baldly enough to the people I spend time with in person for them to understand how big an issue this has become for me, but I can do so here. It's a little like the confession booth, where the screen is enough of a separation to allow for deep honesty. There are probably a few "real life" friends reading this--if so, could you please not bring it up in person? I have not yet begun to remove myself enough from it to do more than this: type out my confession online so it's not merely in my head and therefore deniable.

As confession is only the first step, and I have no priest to assign penance, I'll be taking the self-imposed step of removing the beer keg from my bedroom: following the example of a dear friend, for the foreseeable future my laptop will remain at work, where there's a fairly strict firewall and content filter (and time limit: 75 minutes max, between early arrival and my full lunch break). And I'll be rationing my Kindle access until I move past the urge to use it merely as a hand-held internet browser instead of the ebook reader I originally bought it as.

Ironically, this will probably mean more posts here--and perhaps even fiction, as I'll have vastly fewer distractions at home and always did write more freely with pen and paper than screen and keyboard. We'll see, but the pruned tree does tend to bear more fruit.

I just spent several minutes debating whether or not to allow comments on this; I think I shall, but mostly because it would probably be good for me to receive reminders in my inbox that I wrote it.
Tags: personal things

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