Friday, November 5, 2010

On radio silence

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the availability we create for ourselves by constantly being online, having our cell phones on at all times and generally being easy to contact wherever, whenever? 

I do. The remedy is often to log off for a little while, for instance going for a solitary walk without bringing any electronic equipment. The world will just have to accept that you are not available for a while. Sometimes it takes a little longer – if someone had offered me two weeks in a cabin in a remote location where no internet could reach me, I would have accepted immediately. I would have brought a cell phone in case of an emergency, but I think I would have switched it off for the most of the time to experience something I haven’t really done in years (if ever) – complete radio silence. With no one to talk to, no Facebook statuses to “like”, no text messages to reply to, I believe that my mind and my imagination would get a much-deserved and needed break. A complete disconnection from the world might be exactly what I need to recharge my own batteries.

Now, the chances of being offered this cabin is slim (the chances of it existing at all is slim, in the age of satellites and wireless connections anywhere in the world), but there is nothing stopping me from attempting radio silence right here in my own apartment. Nothing but my own will.

Because the one thing most frequently interfering with my intentions to take a break from the world is myself. I can’t seem to stop checking my email, “just one more time”; or refreshing Facebook to see if anything new happened; or scroll down one of the newspapers I follow just to make sure that Lady Gaga hasn't done anything crazy the last ten minutes. Even if I turn off my phone and unplug the internet and lock the door, I would still consider sitting down to write a blog post intended for others to read. Interaction has become an integral part of my life, and it seems almost impossible to cut it out. The task, then, is to keep it to a manageable level.

Because the reason I don’t unplug the internet isn’t that I can’t, it is that I won’t. After all I like the interaction. Even if I occasionally have to duck away from people, online and offline, to preserve my sanity, I wouldn’t want to become a hermit full time (not even one with internet access). Perhaps I should strive to take a week or two off a year, though, just to prove to myself I can?

As you all should know (since I’m constantly complaining about it), the final deadline for my MA thesis is coming up. I survived NaBloWriMo thinking I would not blog much in November, but nevertheless post every now and then, since I do have a few spare posts written. However, even if these posts are written, I realized that I shouldn't post them just yet. Until I have passed the deadline for my thesis, I have other things to do. It wouldn't feel right to post just for the sake of posting, when it is becoming increasingly apparent to me (and everyone else, I suspect) that I don't have the time or stamina to keep up with comments, both here and on other blogs. I miss being an active participant in the blogosphere, but until I have a little more spare time and brain power, I don't see the point of keeping up this half-mode I've succumbed to. Thus I am evoking radio silence. I am going to the dark side of the moon, and I won’t be back in Earth orbit for a few weeks (I’m thinking December).

Wish me luck – both in finishing the thesis and in staying true to my resolution of radio silence – I’m frankly not sure which one will be the hardest.

See you on the flip side! 

27 comments:

sue said...

Good luck Cruella. I'll be thinking of you, even though you won't be electronically connected. Hope everything goes smoothly and the thesis behaves itself. I'll look forward to your reentry into Earth orbit, complete with new giraffes with a Japanese twist.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I do wish you luck and hope you survive without any electronics.
I know the feeling about having people and one's fingertips especially the phones but owing to a medical condition I have have to carry one on me at all times should I need medical help. I find them a life line though I'd prefer not to have one at all.
Look forward to your return.

Yvonne.

M.J. Nicholls said...

Agree entirely with this post. G'luck!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Finish that thesis!
And while I've unplugged a bit to write during NaNo, I do miss conversing with blogging friends.
Fortuanately, I don't own a cell phone, so there's times when I'm completely unplugged. Can't maintain blogging ninja stealth if people know where I am at all times, now can I?

nonamedufus said...

Go ahead Cruella. We'll all be here when you get back. But we'll miss you. Good luck with that thesis.

Jules said...

Thesis, thesis...radio silence is over rated. After all then your left with only the strange noises coming from your stomach :D
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

LTM said...

good luck good luck good luck! It's going to be brilliant!

see you when it's done~ :o) <3

Kelly said...

I don't do FB, but my phone (with internet access) is never far from my side. Still..... those times I forget it's on silent and my computer is off are really quite nice. (and productive, whether getting stuff done or just staring off into space)

Good luck with getting everything done. Based on the short time I've been following your blog, I get the impression that you are totally up to the task at hand!

Deb and Barbara said...

Ah, yes, I hear you. Even in your radio silence. All the same thoughts and conundrums myself.

I wish you well, my dear girl, no hard feelings, just ample support!

B
The Middle Ages

Hart Johnson said...

You know... I don't carry a cell phone... I like having 2 hours a day that nobody could reach me no matter what.

I am actually marginally disciplined at home, as the writing is something I love... at my desk at work though? Oh those things are tempting!

Good luck with the radio silence experiment!

Cold As Heaven said...

"There's no dark side of the moon; in fact it's all dark."

That's what Pink Floyd said >:)

Cold As Heaven

jaybee-bug said...

Good luck, I hope things go well! :)

Astrid said...

Good luck. I can't agree with you more. I often have days where I just think 'Oh, go away.' when my mobile rings. This is before I even check who's calling. That's why I never take my phone on my runs or the gym, and turn it off when I sleep.

I can't wait to see how it all goes when you return :D

Danette said...

Good luck! I am online way too much so I know what you're talking about although I think I would need an intervention at this point and most of the people I know are just as bad... so what to do, what to do :)

Georgina Dollface said...

Have fun on your time off. (Someone whould make a greeting card for this type of occasion, because more and more people are doing it and me saying "Have fun on your time off just doesn't always seem to be the right fit. "Have fun working on your thesis"? "Enjoy your solitary time"? "Bon voyage while you unplug"? See, none of these really work. So I will just wish you well and look forward to you coming back here when you are ready! Hugs! - G

Jan Morrison said...

Oh, deario, you are exactly right! I have gone on some solitary writing retreats to places that don't have internet. It has been great and I've gotten tonnes done. I do try and USE my obsession to make me go forward though. Here's a site I use htpp://www.mytomatoes.com - just check it out if you can. It gets you doing tasks in 25 minute chunks on the notion that anyone can do that. I use it a lot...

HulaBuns said...

Good luck! We will all be here when you get back anxiously waiting to hear about your success in getting your thesis done. Oh, and I feel the exact same way lately...I'd like to be unplugged for a couple of days, I think it would do me some good. :)

Patricia Stoltey said...

You've made a wise decision. Sometimes we need to back off and rethink our priorities. Good luck!

Nick said...

I'll give you 24 hrs without electronics - maybe 25 - before you go bonkers.

Chary Johnson said...

I know exactly what you mean. I am always on the computer or linked to the world via iPhone. I am a tech addict. *dies*

Good luck with the thesis!

erica and christy said...

No cell phone in our family. Cable that has programmed "favorites" so we're regulated to (my) chosen channels. Books made of actual paper.

But, yes, high-speed internet I still need to learn to control!!!

**good luck!!!!!**
erica

LL Cool Joe said...

I just popped over from Kelly's blog. I have changed my lifestyle recently, because about 5 years ago I was addicted to the internet. So much so that real life was taking second place. Now I have a better balance. I've never done Facebook, don't twitter, msn etc. I don't even have a mobile phone.

I just have my blogs, and that works well for me.

Debs said...

I keep threatening to switch off the phone/computer, etc and go and live somewhere where no one can contact me, at least for a while.

Good luck with your thesis and radio silence, I hope you get everything done.

Mohamed Mughal said...

Take it from a guy who turns off the ringer on this phone....ENJOY!!!

February Grace said...

Thinking of you and hoping you're finding everything you need 'out there'!

hugs
bru

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I recently spent a week unplugged from the internet and was surprised that it was much easier to do than I thought it would be. I found it liberating and plan to take breaks more often now. Good luck with your thesis and resolution.

tammy said...

I have the same problem with "needing" to be connected and getting sucked in. I sit down just to check my email really fast, then find myself still sitting here an hour later. Good luck!

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