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Too connected

June 23rd, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  2 Comments

This bit of smartstuff from Lev Grossman, a novelist who is also TIME’s book critic and resident nerd-blogger. He inexplicably started an additional personal blog on the side, and quickly used it to give voice to a concern I’ve been having: that writing too much, or at least in too many forums, keeps us from really writing.

I’m blogging and tweeting and Facebooking on top of the king-hell amount of e-mailing and magazine writing I was already doing. A lot of writers do. Instead of — or at any rate in addition to — building up lots of words and releasing them in big novel-sized chunks, we’re constantly dribbling them out. Like we’re the victim of some unfortunate literary prostate condition.

He retracted that prostate analogy later, but it seems fitting enough. And for me, there’s an additional anxiety: that all this connectedness keeps me from being a better father. Terrific irony, I know—dadblogging and dadtweeting keep me from being with my kids. Those who don’t do, blog.

I value the conversations we get to have with fathers we’ve never met—and maybe never will—all over the country, and I’m glad they are blogging about this common battle we all face. But in many of their compulsive status updates and tweets, I see a bit of the worst parts of myself. After all, what is really happening in the household when a father tweets that his preschool son is being particularly sluggish getting ready for school? At least the boy (presumably) isn’t tweeting about it.

So that’s the question: where to draw the line? Does this endless virtual loya jirga of fathers cost us something at home? Am I the only one worried about this? Have any of you set limits for yourself? If so, can I borrow them?


Responses

  1. Carly says:

    June 24th, 2010at 10:40 am(#)

    My limit is called babysitter availability. If I so much as glance at my super-phone with kids around, they want to eat it or use it as a drum.

  2. Jeremy says:

    June 24th, 2010at 2:39 pm(#)

    I struggle with this too. It was really bothering me and finally I decided that I wouldn’t go on the computer—at all—in the morning. So that means I don’t check email, read blogs etc. until L. goes down for her nap. I find it’s a good discipline because then I’m able to be present to L. when I’m with her. And at the end of the day, I feel better about myself too.

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