friends, enemies

The internet is my friend.

It saves me a great deal of time and trouble when it comes to research,  finding references, quotations, books. It has relieved me of the onerous need to go clothes shopping. It has introduced me to like-minded women who have become good friends. It provides me with news that I can trust (if I look hard enough, and carefully enough, and compare). When the newscasters and politicians are lying through their teeth, somebody on the internet will be providing a different perspective and hopefully, at least some part of the truth. Or at least a laugh. The internet shows me movie previews and clips from broadcasts I missed, but wished I hadn’t. It lets me find a good, cheap hotel room (again, if I know how to look) and tickets to Spamalot for the Girlchild. It shows me photographs of places I have never been and probably will never go, taken by people who are more adventurous than I am. It distracts me when I’m edge and unsettled. It brings me notes from friends who are far away, from relatives I rarely see, and a way to respond without the pressure of an open phone line. It is the way I talk to the people who buy and/or read my books, to my editor and agent, even to the Mathematician, one floors down in his own office.

The internet is not my friend.

Procrastination is a binary proposition. Will I work, yes or no? The internet provides a thousand ways and reasons to step away. Link by link, inch by inch, it draws me further away. It introduces me to people who write beautifully about things that are important to me, who provide perspective on what is going on in the world. These people are far more interesting to me than working, or cleaning up the kitchen.

It is very hard to resist the temptations of the internet. I try to restrict myself to reading the feeds I have setup on Bloglines, but sometimes I am weak. Just recently I added Teach Me Tonight, “Musings on Romance Fiction from an Academic Perspective”. Six academics talking seriously about romance fiction; a sinkhole of interesting, relevant posts on matters of professional importance, written by a group of six academics.

The internet is merciless. What would I do without it?