The Page a Day Writers Group

Taking a Media Fast

Posted on: June 11, 2010

Lately, I’ve been feeling that the world has become a very noisy place. This is due in part to the fact that I need a proper vacation, not a long weekend at home, with its demands from dirty laundry and toilets and dry lawns. Mostly, though, I’ve realized that the noise is coming from the Internet. What a freaking cacophony of voices! Blogs ad nauseum, Tweets & Facebook posts, celeb baiting gossip columns, opinions and essays on every conceivable topic, a deluge of depressing news and what seems like a million other writers clamoring to be heard. I’m getting all keyed up as I write this. This broad spectrum open conversation has its merits. I feel more connected to people and events around the world but at the expense of being less connected to myself.

Internet noise drowns out the quiet processes of inspiration. It deadens the spirit to all those subtleties we gain from spending face to face time with our friends. It smothers the gentle miracles of the everyday, natural world. Ironic then, that I’m blogging about this, but it’s my “job” and I wonder how many others reading this have suffered the encroachment of technology on creativity.

My quest for quiet has made me aware of the sea of sound we are constantly swimming in. We live close to a freeway and the roar of traffic is constant background noise. There’s music playing in nearly every store and restaurant. People yammer away on their cells phones when, a decade ago, they would have sat quietly on a park bench or walked down the street in silence. It seems that none of us can bear to be alone with our own thoughts anymore. I listen to music, news or podcasts during my commute and all day at work. Come home and watch a movie, or listen to music while I write. The TV blares. The traffic whizzes.  Dogs bark, people talk, dishes clatter, equipment and machinery clank, groan, hiss and squeal.

You may think that my recent 40th birthday has left me cantankerous–on the contrary, it reminds me how much time I might have left on this beautiful Earth, what I want to accomplish while I’m here, and how I want to spend my precious days. I want to spend more time listening to the wind shaking the trees, the tumble of surf against the sand, my children sharing their ideas and visions, my dog crunching through a potato chip she’s discovered under the table (this sound makes me laugh). I want to marvel at how long a day is when it’s left to its own devices and unfurls around me at its own mysterious pace.

I’ve decided to remedy this by deliberating courting quiet. Driving to work, and sitting at my desk in silence. Spending less time on the ‘net (yeah, right), less time reading disconnected ideas and more time reading what I love most–well crafted stories. I read the Pit and the Pendulum this morning over breakfast and it restored me. The other day, I read The Raven out loud and marveled at Poe’s musical words.

A media fast is in order. I’m going to try to minimize the amount of daily time, if any, that I spend on the Internet, reading and posting. I’ll avoid the onerous chore of logging in and out of multiple sites. Instead, I’m going to spend more time going for walks, writing, and sitting on the porch to drink my tea and bird watch. I’ll spend less time staring at screens and more time feasting my eyes on the ocean. I’ll breathe deeply of the new gardenia blossoms adorning the bushes in our big clay pot.

Most importantly, I’ll keep writing. Shhhh…

Kirsten Imani Kasai

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4 Responses to "Taking a Media Fast"

Whew! I feel you! I’m usually very good at quiet times, but lately w/ all of the demands…mostly the ones I put on myself – things haven’t been as quiet. But that’s about to change. Might as well start now!

This post is a great reminder of the ways that time can slip away from us when we are not being “present”– for our writing or anything else. We need to stay connected, without losing the connection to ourselves, just as you said.

This hasn’t proven to be very easy to accomplish, but simple awareness of the noise/distraction level helps. Yesterday we went for a hike in a state park and heard nothing but wind and birdsong. It was blissful.

Yes! Media fasting is essential- and I always feel better afterwards and more able to listen, too. Thanks for the reminder to tune out/tune in to ourselves and loved ones/nature to replenish.

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Who are we?

The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!

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