Hold my messages, I’ll be back in awhile
So, listen. I am headed off into the West Virginia backwoods tomorrow for nine days — no computer, no cellphone, no e-mail, no texting. Certainly no sexting. Here’s where I am going off to. I am looking forward to both the retreat and to retreating from my noisy, always-on, overly wired connection to the loud, cantankerous and buzzy world into which I — like you? — have been jacked into like Neo in “The Matrix.”
To those of you with whom I maintain regular Facebook fraternization, e-mail contact and/or touchy-feeling texting, hear ye now this. Effective with this exit stage left into the woods, I’ll by idling my Facebook account for the near-term future, likely to the end of the year at least. I’ll be reducing e-mail and text communication to a minimum, limited to utterly essential friendships, required business and work-related communiques or offers from billionaires and the MacArthur Foundation to come up with clever ways to spend $1 million or more.
(Messages are also welcome from well-to-do West Virginia-philes who would like to be patron saints, sugar daddies, mothers and Medici-like benefactors in support of WestVirginiaVille’s growth into an actual boutique media enterprise and LLC. You know who you are. Hit ‘Contact’ at the top of the page, you wonderful and precious person. You look great in that outfit.)
We shall see. If you want to stay up to date on my doings, my undoings, my words and video work, my stumblebum politics and bi-polar love/frustration with Life As We Know It, I encourage you to ‘Like‘ the WestVirginiaVille page on Facebook, which will remain active. Or click up in the right-hand corner of this site and follow/subscribe and/or check in regularly on this blogazine’s feed, Twitter and web address. This will be the epicenter of my wired life, such as it shall be in its reduced state.
For I am not shutting myself off utterly from the world like a Poor Clare. I am consolidating my scattered attention, fractured into a hundred shards by incessant Facebooking, e-mailing, textualizing, contextualizing, Wikipiediation, Mozilla ratiocination and the overall Googleopolization of my attention.
Plus, I want to get the damn unfinished novel past Chapter 2. Plus, figure out where to take WestVirginiaVille and its offshoot works.
So, here’s the deal. My personal Facebook site is going down until it comes back up again. Which I don’t know right when that will be. This is causing me a smidgen of anxiety since many of the hits that WestVirginiaVille.com gets come by way of status updates there. (That’s why I ask, request, plead and petition you to ‘Like’ the WestVirginiaville Facebook page, if you’ve not already done so. If you have already done so, you’re good. Golden. My man.)
This is kind of an experiment. The always-on, jacked-in life, after all, is a relatively recent phenomenon that just started, like, last week in the grand scheme of human things. Those of us who are a certain age (and beyond) recall when access to another person via a long-distance wire was a hit-or-miss thing. Driving cross-country, in search of America, you might — might — find a phone booth beneath the Sinclair gas station sign outside Dayton, Ohio. If it worked. Then another hour or two might pass before another chance to reach out and touch someone might offer itself in the long stretches between a Dutch Pantry and an open pit outhouse rest stop.
I want a little of that action back. (Not the open pit outhouse rest stop.) I want to break my near-addiction to updating Facebook, seeing who messaged me there, foolishly scanning for e-mails while driving (I know, I know…). I want to remember a little what it was like for the evening’s only options to be, like, Walter Cronkite, a book, the unfinished novel or catching a tree frog concert on the back porch. I desire the train of my attention to be longer than a few cars and a caboose. I want to try and write something more lengthy and slightly more significant — paging my peripatetic Muses — than a clever Tweet or killer status video link. If you see me back on Facebook before Thanksgiving, you’ll know I was an utter failure at turning down the virtual volume.
I still love you, by the way. And — like what your Mom used to say when you didn’t get to the phone in time and it stopped ringing: “If they really want to reach us, they will.”
So, I’m out of here and off to the woods. WestVirginiaVille’s town square will be quiet for nearly two weeks, then will start welcoming visitors and tourists with a new season of occasional material. Beyond that — wired and wireless-wise — all bets are off.
Later, alligator. | by Douglas Imbrogno