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The One Way Mirror

May 8, 2012

I’ve been writing this weekly blog for over two years now. Slowly, it’s changed my life. For the better and a little for the worse.

It’s been important for me to be writing and sharing my thoughts on everything from my occupation to Occupy. The commitment to Waking At Midnight makes me think as well as feel. (“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” – Gustave Flaubert)  And whittling a 1300 word piece down to its 900 word essence after four drafts at 4:30 in the morning can be a clarifying experience.

This also has become a neat ** way of keeping in contact with my friends by letting them know what’s going on with, and within, me. And therein lies the downside: People don’t miss me, as in, seeing me face to face. It’s like, Hey I read your blog, I know all about you!

This results in email exchanges that often go something like this:

Charley to friend: Let’s get together, the (2) (4) of us. Here are some dates I’m/we’re available.

Friend to Charley: Cool! I’ll let ya know!

And that’s the last I hear.

So I have some wonderful, local friends I haven’t seen in years. And I can’t say I blame them. If they read my blog regularly, they probably know more about me than I do.

People get to see me through this one way mirror. So while they may not be missing me, I miss them.

Which is yet another example of technology being a double-edged electron. It brings us together and distances us at the same time. Sort of like what a city does to us.

To put it another way, imagine being able to enter a fantastic 3-D depiction of a forest (probably only a few years from now), and having it diminish your desire or felt need to go and enter a real one. Would you have been brought closer to nature, or further away?

In the past, to connect with someone you had to pick up the telephone and dial their number (mommy, why do they call it ‘dial’?) Or go and actually see them face to face.  Yeah I know about Skype and Face Time. But I mean, in the flesh. And while some of you respond to my posts, which is always satisfying, it’s of course not the same.

There may also be a more insidious impact the blog is having on me: I write about a topic and get as deep and well- thought-out as I can between midnight and dawn on a Tuesday morning. Sometimes, this isn’t very deep at all. And so I wonder if this is fulfilling a need that also keeps that book further away – the one I still feel is in me somewhere. Perhaps if I didn’t feed my writing jones on a weekly basis, I would feel compelled to write something deeper and more substantial. 

Anyway, I’m mostly happy with this blog, and, although it adds to my too-long list of weekly to-dos, I still love writing it and connecting with you in this way.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

** Neat: An old Oliver North word meaning: expedient. (Mommy, who’s Oliver North?)


3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2012 12:01 pm

    I think I wrote about this here previously, in response to something else you wrote. But i must remind you that even in the days long before cell phones, email, facebook, and all the rest, we once had to make an appointment two weeks ahead of time in order to schedule a phone call! it was the key event that tipped the scales for me and convinced me to leave NYC, where in 12 years i had never gotten to know any of the people in the apartments on either side of my door, not even their names. And you and I couldn’t find time to chat on the phone without our appointment books out. So I don’t think we can blame technology, In fact, technology at least gives us some semblance of staying in touch, whereas in those days, I had to wait two weeks for our schedule phone call to make contact, and now I can at least drop you this line. Hi Charley–how you doin’?

  2. May 9, 2012 2:55 am

    I don’t think you should worry that the blog is holding you back from writing a book. I think the blog is your muse, your inspiration, and that it is what is making you write. So keep writing your blog. Some day your book will naturally emerge from your blog.

    • May 9, 2012 3:40 am

      Ed’s right, or as Werner might have said, “The reason you’re not writing a book is because you’re not writing a book.” When you start writing a book, you’ll be writing a book.

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