Unplugged. The joys of a screen-free day

I have a friend, Karla Kelsey, who is an excellent poet and an even more excellent human being (which almost makes her super human.) Her latest publication, A Conjoined Book, serves as a mediation on a river, relating to another, and a deep connection with self and the earth.

At the beginning of the fall semester she and I agreed to maintain internet-free Sundays, in essence living with most of the technologies available to us in 1991. We did agree to allow cell phones and texting (not a feature of 1991), but with data off. While I was home before my tour, I faithfully kept my Sundays free of the Internet, but on tour it was not so easy (and I was lonely.) Now I am home again and have resumed the practice.

In fact, yesterday I spent the whole day with the smart-ass phone turned off and hidden in the top drawer of my desk. I also hid the iPad. I moved to the side the wireless keyboard for my desk computer and its place stood my mom’s old 1940’s Royal manual typewriter. I produced two letters and a long journey entry that I click clacked away at without auto-correct, spell-check, or even white-out (anyone remember that gunk?)

I admit it; I am addicted to the Internet and to screens. Even when I have no reason to log on, I find myself returning to it over and over. And I love it. It is a fun, distracting, stimulating, engrossing, mindless, mindful source of information and mirth. But it is a tyrant always pulling, tugging, demanding, “Look at me! Look at what I can do.”

That damn smart-ass phone is like Frodo’s one ring that rules them all, always calling to me, emitting a signal, luring me to take it out and slip into another world, one that both connects me and disconnects me.

But yesterday was pure bliss. I cooked. I cleaned. I read. I listened to music, like really listened, not just as background music. I browsed an old cocktail book and sampled a few. Shoot I even worked in the garden cleaning the brown, dry remains of my summer bounty. It was so delightful and freeing, that I believe I will extend Internet-free Sunday to include Saturday this week. I know!

So who wants to join Karla and me this week for Internet-Free Sunday?


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