It’s true. I can’t get anything done while there are more Sarah Pain videos out there for me to laugh at. It used to be that my first stops on the internet were literary: maybe Papercuts, followed by The Guardian books section, followed by, say, The New York Review Of Books. Now it’s straight to Wonkette and the HuffPo.
It seems I am not alone. This week, someone writing under the pseudonym “Stumped” sends this complaint to Cary Tennis, Salon’s advice guru and creative coach:
I am taking a creative nonfiction writing course, and I’m supposed to be working on a piece about what I ate for breakfast. The problem is, every time I sit down at the computer to work, I start compulsively reading the election coverage online, sometimes spending two hours or more on variations on the same five articles. I am ashamed of my lack of self-control in this area.
I hear that. I’d find it tricky to write about what I had for breakfast too (two slices of multigrain toast with hard boiled egg, in case you were wondering). More to the point, I am ashamed by my lack of self-control in the internet area also. I have watched that clip of Palin’s interview with Katie Couric, the one which shows her stammering about the economy, fifty sixmany times. That should be enough. Alas, it is not.
“Stumped” has other problems too, though, including what sounds like an over achievement complex combined with some self esteem issues, and Cary’s full response is all over the place, accordingly, while never failing to be encouraging and supportive, which is one of the things I like about him.
My one critique is that he kind of skips over the essential point — a lesson that is essential for all writers. Here it is:
GO SOMEWHERE WITHOUT INTERNET ACCESS TO WRITE.
There. I said it. Cutting myself off, physically, is necessary for me, I know that much. Every week, the Times Papercuts blog runs “Stray Questions” in which they ask the the same three things to a random assortment of writers. One of the questions is: How much time — if any — do you spend on the Web? Is it a blessing or a distraction?
Asking if the internet is a blessing or a distraction is like asking: Food — delicious or fat-inducing? It’s both, stupid. Delicious if you eat the right things, in the right quantities. A potential health risk if you eat too much, too often. But necessary, either way.
So with online video of Sarah Palin, it seems.