Sunday, 26 December 2010


The day before Christmas Eve, when the kids came, I promised myself that I would not switch on my computer until they had left. Not check my work or private email, not update Facebook status or read others, not blog, not read other blogs, not add books on Shelfari or papers on Academia, not browse ebay, not even look up what was going on in my dollhouse community. I made this promisejust before I started reading Nicholas Carr's The Shallows but the book certainly enhanced my decision not to get addicted. The thing is, the kids had their iPad with them and sat over it most of the time when they didn't borrow one or two of our laptops, and then Julia got a new smartphone for Christmas which she immediately started playing with. I was firm, however, until Christmas day morning when they slept till nine, and all my codex books were in the room where they slept, as were all my room boxes and tools, I had not bought a Christmas jigsaw puzzle, and I didn't want to drill new holes in the walls while they were asleep. I succumbed, and actually nothing much had happened online while I was away. Most people had been away too.Yet the very second I logged in there was a Skype call. Which made me glad.

Carr claims and shows with reference to brain research that internet affects our way of thinking. I don't buy everything he says, but it is fascinating. I am one of the dinosaurs who, although I do use some social media, will never learn to multitask. I simply cannot do more than one thing at a time. If I use Skype I cannot simultaneously chat or surf, and if I check my email I do it and nothing else. If I look up something on Wikipedia I read it all through before I start clicking on links, if at all. In other words, I am still a linear thinker and will never be anything else. My recent re-reading of a lot of very long, slow reads, including Moby-Dick, Remembrance of Things Past and Doctor Faustus, must be a subconscious defence against fragmentarisation. I hate books with short chapters and high pace, which most Young Adult novels are these days. I never want to read another YA novel again. At least not this year.

And yet I won't make this post longer than this.

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