The Ghost in My Computer

Every year now I get more into Halloween. I don’t know what that says about me. Second childhood coming around perhaps? Now that’s scary.

When my daughters were young– and Halloween was always their favorite–I hobbled through it with eyes on what I considered more important upcoming holidays, namely Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I feel bad about that.

Sure I helped them with their costumes, but didn’t stay up nights like some moms with felt, tulle, shears, super glue and sewing machines. I like to think that because the girls essentially did it themselves, they became the creative women they are today.

This year, I’m pleased to say, I ushered in the holiday at the “Hallows in the Cathedral” concert performed by The Seattle Women’s Chorus at St. Mark’s Cathedral. Chanting, singing classical, showtunes, and pop in powdered white faces with dark red lips, capes and hoods, in a cathedral dark and remarkably unembellished, it was heavenly in a pagan sort of way.

So here is what is really haunting me lately: internet addiction. Call it an obsession, call it possession, it is coming to get me. I can feel it. It’s an addiction that crept up slowly over the years, and suddenly, can pull one under.

Once upon a time, I could go to my laptop and write. Now I have to clear all the email and check facebook, which sends me listening to Ted Talks, reading blogs of interest, newspaper articles of interest, signing petitions, and circulating petitions. Seeing where my daughters are, and what my husband is up to. Catching up on everyone’s photo album, travels and endeavors, hearing new music, old music, viewing U Tube videos. Browsing my favorite stores, browsing One King’s Lane, Joss & Main, Gilt and Haute. Off on tangents I never would have anticipated, and couldn’t begin to retrace.

And this happens every day.

All this before I’ve written one word.

Even my Morning Pages practice of nearly two decades is under assault. Although I write in another room, I hop up and down at every opportunity to log on. Sneaking and peeking, the obsessive-compulsive checking of email and facebook.

Can’t take ten steps without turning around and going back “to check.”

Can’t be in the same room and get into anything else. See what I mean?

Even as I write this, I am checking my email & facebook messages and posts. Thank god I don’t carry a smart phone. Thank god I don’t text or tweet too.

Sometimes instead of logging out, I have to shut it down and pretend that it needs its sleep. And go for a walk.

Oh get me out of here (writing at home)! I need a job. A job that isn’t wired. Something in the wilderness. Something like a park ranger.

My friend Teri Clifford has a sticker system. Using little gummy stars on her calendar each day, she gives herself one color for having exercised, and another color for journaling. I should adopt this. With the color green for staying off the internet one whole day.

For only nature can save me now.


Filed under Halloween, internet addiction

9 responses to “The Ghost in My Computer

  1. Sheela

    Hi Kim, Nice article. I think you are moving along with the constantly changing world just fine! I am with you too and I am also guilty of texting and smart phone too. sometimes, I wonder how did I survive without the phone and the PC. It has definitely shrunk the world and physical activity too.
    BTW, I enjoyed the video, they should play it on the plane while take off since this will grab more attention!
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. sophiewitman

    Oh I know of what you speak. It is a seductive world at our fingertips. I wonder what would happen if we make a “date” outdoors. A promise to go out first thing. Before logging on. What do you think?

  3. Kim, I too know of what you speak, believe me! Traveling right now, I am practicing simply looking, listening, waiting, observing. And yet I look forward to catching up with my online community, including you, when I have a quiet evening moment like I am right now!

  4. Indeed. I feel more creative when I can turn off the computer. I feel less connected in some ways–to news and colleagues, for example–when I’m completely offline; but I feel more connected to the phenomena of my physical life. I guess technology makes us question where we really “live.”

  5. Linda Cooper

    Since returning from a trip abroad my Kindle and I have been attached at the hip, and my husband has commented about us not too favorably. I have current books I’m reading, USA today, and my email constantly at by my side, so I hear you loud and clear. The only way to save myself seems to be to go work in the garden, give my mind a rest, and breathe the wonderful northwest air.

  6. Christine Ahrens

    You poor darling. I am sure it can be very tough to be constantly”on”. I have age in my favor as I don’t have the urge to be constantly connected. I still enjoy volunteer work and gardening and reading a real book. How do you manage all that you do, being constantly plugged in? Let me know your secret and I might join you!


    • Follow my blog but don’t follow me! I am making a concerted effort to get unplugged by taking longer walks, listening to music and reading books without interruption…. You are doing it right. As my friend Ann Hedreen says, “The Internet is a cocktail party. A good book is a memorable gourmet meal.”

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