For the love of static

I’m freshly restored from a journey to the heartland. The good life was wonderfully devoid of schedules, plans and urgent emails. Going unplugged has become so rare, and is so initially unsettling, that I think I need to do it more often.

Turns out, I’m not alone in my aversion to constant connection.

Following my ‘Goodbye Facebook’ post last month, several people responded with applause. Some had contemplated dropping out, and felt empowered to finally do so. Others admitted they had never joined the flurry and felt vindicated in their wallflower disposition.

As I discover the tech fatigue of others, I feel puffed up with a sort of self-satisfaction (that is sure to bite me back at any moment). Today, I was giddy to find a Poets & Writers interview with Howard Junker, editor of venerable literary journal ZYZZYVA. In this excerpt, the bold emphasis is all mine.

PW: [Were your] values tested when, as an editor, you had to follow the technological advances of the past decade or so?

Howard Junker: At first, tech was my friend. Desktop publishing was a godsend. E-mail was great. The Web started out great, but digital has been totally disruptive. The low-end workhorses of words on paper, like newspapers, are already destroyed. The luxury items, like lit mags, can survive as toys for the rich — Glimmer Train, Tin House, Zoetrope — or as enticements, like stadiums and museums, in universities. But the Twitter sensibility has no room for literate articulation. To read and write you have to enjoy being alone, quiet, and static. That's not what tech fosters. I like blogging as a daily yoga. I post every day, as a personal exercise, not as a marketing tool.