Yesterday, I was thinking about how books evolved, the printing press, the rich history of information transportation. I love to write, but this must only be a stage in the evolutionary process of our collective desire to communicate with and learn from others. What is the difference between journaling, hoping no one ever reads, and writing posts, blogs and books, hoping that others, someone, anyone will read and find meaning, synchronicity with us?
Today, it’s less about information transportation and more about information organization. We’re not so concerned about the medium, but about the access, the audience, serving our content in the right place at the right time, to the right people.
Gone are the days of the card catalog, where librarians had little interest in rigging the results for profit. Now, our narrative is not just the pages of a book, but the way at which we arrived to read what’s in our feed, kindle or cart. Not only are our families, jobs, neighbors, and friends informing our narrative, but a silent digital thread that is stringing together our lives into an algorithmic, and some would argue, artificial quilt that looks nothing like our grandmother’s patchwork.
I remember the days under that old-fashioned hand sewn blanket, hiding a flashlight, to stay up late and read books that ported me to another world. I could hold the book in my hand, sometimes press it to my heart and feel the details of each page informing the narrative of my life. It was a slow and steady digestion, though I read as quickly as possible to know how it all ended before dawn. But my compulsion was reigned in by a limited number of books, with a few days in-between visits to the library.
Now, I don’t need a flashlight. My phone has back-light and so much more. I can download unlimited books from Amazon Kindle and read until my heart’s content. In fact, I have so much at my fingertips to read, that I’ve become ADD. I skip to the parts of the book that are more aligned to my ego or current interests. I compulsively buy books that pop-up as suggestions in my feed. I forget that I’ve started a book and so I rarely ever finish it.
My head hurts. This pace of life, the smorgasbord of information that tosses my mind at sea – I long for scenes by the fireplace in a rocking chair beside my true love—the actual pages turned by me, unfolding the magic of everything my life could one day be. I miss my long-lost friends with whom I’d found some common ground, though their childhood was set in a very different scene—in obscure remote villages and quiet back alleys. Those endless white planes of snow-filled wonder are more real to me than the virtual worlds that have little reverence for the slow and intentional unfolding of love and leisure.
So, what about you? Which parts of your narrative are blurred by the daze of lightning speed information transportation?