Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, April 8, 2014
My first trip to Seattle was in 2002. The first thing I noticed then was the vitality of the city and its citizens. Maybe it was all the coffee? Subsequent trips reinforced this—the population density and activity gave me the feeling of living in an anthill. This time, however, something seemed different. The noise level certainly hadn't abated; the cacophony in the city center (buskers, performance spaces, sonic art installations, sea planes, traffic) was almost too much to bear. The change I sensed was in the people. It seemed as if more and more of the massed throngs had that same flat affect of the hard-core digerati—too much time spent hunched over a screen, nervously scrolling, with a corresponding loss of physical vigor. The same things I've noticed in myself. When I see a campus full of young people dimly grazing their devices I wonder what they'll look like when they are as old as I am.
One of the things I wanted to accomplish when I first started this internet adventure ten years ago was to become as much as an original content provider
as a content consumer
. I can see that balance is now starting to tip in the wrong direction. The Seattle trip highlighted these concerns. I was much more engaged there (although it helped that the weather was gorgeous) that I had been in months at home. I took more pictures in six days than in the previous six months.
My next serial novel ("The Sequel!") is beginning to take shape, albeit slowly, hindered not so much as by writer's block, but by frivolous diversions (i.e., most of the non-literati links on my sidebar) as well the arrival of an iPad in the house which has to be the most insidious time-waster ever invented (it isn't mine, thank goodness!). It seems that it will always be a struggle for me to be fully engaged in the NOW. The artist's dilemma, I suppose. Onward and upward.
More Seattle later this week.