I sent Stefan “a link to David Foster Wallace’s introduction to the 2007 edition of Best American Essays. I have enjoyed his magazine pieces, and own two of his books, so I sent the link unread with a promise to him to come back to it later. Stef sent back a grumpy rant about the piece, and without getting into the nature of his complaints, what impressed me most was the closeness of his reading and the concentration he must have brought to bear. It forced me to realize that I don’t as a matter of course bring more than minimal attention to what I read – I’ve been scanning, not reading, and my mental muscles are weak. They need to do some weight lifting, and so do I.
Yes, “Tim” is an anagram for TMI, “Too Much Information.” Email messages unread: 68. RSS items unread: 625. Current browser tabs among 5 windows: 11. Too. Much. Information.
So where to cut back? I don’t want to lose more sleep. I would have trouble giving up reading political coverage during this run-up to an election year, especially when the Republicans are fielding such a bizarre misguided flip-flopping fear-mongering group of candidates. And the Democrats, ah the Democrats… they’re so amazingly timid about really pounding on the most incompetent regime America’s seen in my lifetime, and on the Congressional Republicans that have enabled it. George W.Bush makes Nixon look like a smart progressive on most issues. Who’d have thought we’d pine for Nixon? Ever? And in a situation like this, how can I keep from following it?
But back to Too Much Information. There’s always something new just a click away, whether it’s one of those emails, or in a feed, or on a site I haven’t checked this last foru minutes, or something. And I have this blog, see, the one you’re reading? Having a domain, and a blog, implies a commitment, and I have not kept that commitment. I have a camera, too, that camera implies another commitment, to take and publish pictures. I have not kept this commitment either.
Will Richardson writes and lives the Read/Write web, and I do not. Too much reading and not enough writing/photographing/publishing. I’ve allowed the too-many opportunities for something new to become data smog and I have to filter more of it out. I guess that output would become more of the smog for someone else, but the exercise of doing it myself would be better for my mind and my health.