Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Electronic Guilt

I feel so guilty. My poor neglected network. My month’s old Facebook status. Or my disturbingly irrelevant twitter update. And that aging blog, taunting me like a blank page. And then there’s the reading. Newsletters, blogs, my overloaded instapaper account. All of things I am missing. All of the things I am getting wrong. I know. Believe me, I’ve bookmarked or saved all of those articles on how to leverage a network, to build an online community. And I neglect it all.

It’s not as if not an expressive sort. I have plenty to say and think that most of it is worth being heard. It’s just that it all overwhelms. I am writing a novel, you know. While trying to get an agent for the last one and trying still to get a slew of short stories published. Oh, then there’s a career. And three children and a wife. Never mind the looming bookshelf of unread books towering behind me right now as I write this. The newspapers, the weekly and monthly magazine (Call that Print Guilt, I suppose). I might just have a few demands on my time. In all of this, it feels like there are little more than a few minutes available to dabble online.

I know I’m not alone in this. I am not the only one who fantasizes about it all going away. About being in some Montana cabin or seaside shack without the internet, out of cellphone range. Managing all of the demands on us, especially the electronic ones, will always be a challenge. Somewhere there is a way to manage all of it, or at least to feel more like it is all being managed. I see it done. I am always amazed by the people I know who are busy, kids and careers, but still manage keep up, to post the videos of their kids, to make me interested in reading their updates.

So, I ask your forgiveness. Forgive the missed birthday messages, the “likes” of the video you posted, the retweet of your link to the essay on James Salter. Forgive the silences, the disappearances. Forgive me and I will do my best to not let the guilt push me away. Though it overwhelms, I will try to be a better participant in our new electronic era.

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