How is the Time Reclamation Project going?
The New Year idea has been to re-focus attention outside the amorphous Internet. I’d been feeling it was sapping too much of my time and brain. The internet is the perfect unending source for a news and information junkie like me. The goal has been to minimize my online research time, my news reading time, and Twitter and Facebook time. Email also has become scheduled time.
Just because I can read 800 words a minute and type really, really fast doesn’t mean those skills are always meaningful or helpful or must be utilized at all times. *ahem*
In the two plus weeks I’ve been on a “digital diet,” projects have been completed, started, or planned in a lovely focused manner. In some ways the TRP has been a relief. Projects and ideas do not nag at me because they are being neglected.
The TRP has not been all easy or comfortable. I want to reach for Google more often than I care to admit in order to look some fact up instead of reaching for a stray volume on the bookshelf.
I like being on top of world events and concerns. The thing is, though, I don’t need to be and it only turns me into someone who can’t be told things because, well, I’ve already heard about it. The process has been one of relaxing away from the news and being more and more in the present moment. (Trust me, while I am not glued to the Twitter newsfeed, I do not live under a rock. News about the earthquake in Haiti easily made it’s way upstairs to my writer’s room.)
If you work at home like I do it can get lonely at times. The Internet has often been my office “water cooler.” While my time has been restricted and some activities (such as the Twitter feed) have fallen away for the moment, I still allow myself some scheduled time for reading blogs, FPN and a bit of commenting and interaction.
The TRP is something I intend to continue. If you understand that this exercise is not anti-Internet—(how can it be because here I am blogging away)—you’ll understand it is about living thoughtfully each day in my own way.
An unexpected by-product of the TRP has been around my fountain pen collection. As I find myself following various pen trails, I readily understand how people’s collections grow and grow and grow. I started out trying to understand Conklin, then Wahl-Eversharp, and now Sheaffer. Quick! Save me from Parker and Waterman! All of these pen companies, and so many more, are a fascinating source of history. All of them are worthy of being collected and accumulated. Unless you have a local source for pen shopping or access to pen shows, the only way to try pens for some of us is to buy them. That, too, can be rough going.
I’ve decided how to reign in my collection by focusing only on Visconti Ragtimes and vintage Wahl-Eversharp. The Ragtimes because I simply enjoy writing with their silly, colorful piston-filling bodies. The Wahl-Eversharps because their nibs are smooth and consistent. Or maybe just because I found them before being taken off in a Sheaffer direction. With a few exceptions (the Levenger True Writer, the Edison or maybe maybe maybe my Pelikans) all other pens will be re-homed. That decision much like the Time Reclamation Project feels like a great relief.
Since I began collecting pens I have often thought of Stephen King’s passage in On Writing wherein he mentions his desk. He wrote about his dream desk, a monstrous oak piece in the center of his writing room. Presumably taking up most of the space of that room. He got rid of that desk, put a “living-room suite” in its place, and installed a smaller desk in a corner of his room. The job of writing he opines
starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.
It’s a perspective I resonate with. And pens? Too much focus on pens puts them in the center and puts the writing (and all else) to the side. I do enjoy what I call a little “pen therapy” when pens are cleaned and put away, others brought out to write again, and some pens inviting some simple tinkering. The pens provide a momentary respite from the world when they are not serving their primary purpose as my writing tools.