Freakishly Luddite & The Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse, Nov. 3, 2013

Solar Eclipse, Nov. 3, 2013

After freakishly checking Twitter every hour for news about Donna Tartt’s new novel (it was finally published), R.E.M. (Peter Buck was interviewed at Salon), and the specials at the local diner (chicken and noodles or vegetable omelet), I realized I wasn’t finding what I was looking for online.

Here’s what I wanted.

A solar eclipse.

I actually missed one on Sunday.

By then I had already quit Twitter, because I couldn’t decipher 140-character fragments.

Twitter was uneventful.

I wanted something that made me breathless.

I should have followed the solar eclipse.

How could I miss a solar eclipse?

Probably most of you were up bright and early, if that’s when it was.  You photographed it.

Well, I don’t live on the east coast, so I couldn’t have seen it anyway.

But I made a discovery about myself.

I got dozens of tweets and retweets every day, the screen was CLUTTERED with messages by literary people I’d never heard of (mostly retweeted by Tin House), and no mention of a solar eclipse anywhere.

Books are my favorite thing, and this is not to say you shouldn’t follow tweets by Ron Charles of The Washington Post, Sherman Alexie, Maud Newton, Amy Tan, or TLS, because you should.

But I should also have followed science.


I live in a slow city.

I live in a slow city.

I am so wildly quasi-Luddite (don’t drive, ride a bicycle, don’t have a food processor) that I need at least 250 words just to make an announcement.  I write (sort of) long.

Blogging is almost Luddite by today’s standards.  You plan it while you walk, or while you’re polishing the table.  You may not have time to polish the prose, but you write in sentences and paragraphs.

Perhaps my near-Luddite preferences are because I live in a very slow city.  There is no rush hour traffic.  We don’t stand in long lines at the supermarket.  We ride our bikes and only sail out in the car once a week.

Although I am not organized enough to commit to the sustainability issues of the Slow Movement, I am interested in the talk about  “time poverty.” According to the Slow Movement website, people are so disconnected that they are turning to organic food, Buddhism, and extended families.

We are searching for connection. We want connection to people – ourselves, our family, our community, our friends, – to food, to place (where we live), and to life. We want connection to all that it means to live – we want to live a connected life…

Recognising the disconnection and pace of our life as an unwanted state of affairs is an important first step in re-establishing the connections and slowing the pace. What we all want to know is how do we reconnect? How do we live slow, whilst at the same time meeting our most important responsibilities?

I recently turned to vegetarianism because the chemicals in meat made me sick.   (My husband didn’t notice I hadn’t fed him meat since September until I pointed it out today–now that’s success!)  Although I love my family, my connections to bloggers, book groups, and other online friends are very important.  I’m not looking for an extended family.

Is that connection or disconnection? What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Freakishly Luddite & The Solar Eclipse

  1. I’m definitely luddite in terms of twittering and facebooking and all that fast and furious modern technology. I think blogging is more akin to an old-fashioned proper writing thing – I certainly find myself *reading* blogs in a way you can’t read the other media. I just regard it as a tool, really – to express myself and to connect with other people who love the same books etc I do. The fact that’s it’s an online blog is slightly irrelevent – it would be whatever way was available. Maybe I have the balance right? 🙂


  2. Yes, I think so! I love the idea of “slow living,” but I discovered at the website that my city doesn’t count for “slow living” because there are more than 50,000 people. That’s silly and just wrong! But I have cut down on online time and do feel better, so maybe I’m getting my balance back, too.


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