Every time folks look at my cell phone, they have a hard time suppressing the expression on their faces that says, ‘How do you get that antique to work, anyway?‘ When I patiently remind my students to email me the night before group to inform me of the next day’s absence – because I have neither internet at the writing studio, nor smart phone – they do not seem to register my meaning. Even last week, when I was at the Verizon store purchasing a smart phone for my daughter, she, the salesman and my husband tried their best to persuade me to buy one for myself. I simply could not figure out a reason to do so.
OK, maybe I am the dinosaur here. I’m just mastering texting my twenty-something-year-old kids. But I have yet to grasp the need to connect to the internet 24/7. In fact, I think it would be quite exhausting. For tonight’s book group talk we have read QUIET by Susan Cain. I am on nearly every page of that book; I have found where I live and why it has always been so painful for me in the wider world. Obviously I’m famously an introvert. I like taking time to consider a response. I do NOT like being bombarded by messages all day. And I do not need to check the weather every 20 minutes. I live in New England. It changes all the time!
I truly appreciate the internet for its ability to send writings to be copied at Kinko’s so they’ll be ready when I need them. I have used it many times to clarify the precise meaning of a word that comes to me. I love seeing and sharing photos with family, and reading updates from writers I admire. But the reason my work involves face-to-face groups of women writing in community is because of the relationships we build. They feed us as women and as writers. These personal connections simply cannot be created online.