Enjoy the moment

Karalee’s Post #11

Can you imagine trying to read a book at the same time as watching a television show and Tweeting and Facebooking? Would you enjoy the book at all? Or worse, would you complain that it was hard to get into the book? It would certainly be a different read than if you were curled up in a quiet place sipping a coffee and only reading.

I thought of all the above when I was sitting in The Cellar Jazz Club last Saturday listening to the Mike Allen Quartet with friends of ours. We had dinner beforehand in the Club followed by two outstanding jazz sets. Adam Thomas the bass player had an out-of-this-world falsetto voice and every band member was completely caught up in the moment and enjoying the moment.

But the two people in front of me texted and Tweeted throughout the entire first set (then left before the second set, thank goodness). I found that the light from their phones was distracting in the dark room and it was so irritating that it took me out of the moment. I felt like asking them to turn their devices off, but my polite voice wouldn’t let me.

With heads down, these two multi-media crazed people kept typing away. Did they even see the band or “hear” their music? They couldn’t possibly have taken in the whole music experience to the same extent as those of us that were listening intently and enjoying the moment. And if everyone in the audience were on their social media devices I’m sure the band members would have noticed. Surely it would have taken away from their musical experience too.

And that made me think of trying to read a book while being constantly distracted by social media. Is it fair to the author that has spent hundreds of hours creating the story for the reader’s sole entertainment? Can you even think of a book that can withstand the stress of constant interruptitis? (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. My medical background was calling me to make up this word.)

Now I feel much better about not allowing myself to be distracted (as much) by email, Facebook, twitter and our 5Writer’s blog as I did at the beginning of this challenge. At the moment I have enough of my own life challenges on the home front that are taking me away from my writing, but it is personal work that has to be done. I’d much rather be driving down south or watching the fog in San Francisco.

That said, I know I haven’t acknowledged my progress-to-date. I’m progressing slower than the goal I’ve set for myself, but my story is getting written and I am close to the end of Act One. I’m using a great writing software called Scrivener and it gives the word count for every file, and as I have each scene in a separate file it means I do the totaling for the whole until I learn how to do it differently.  I’m still new to the software.

Scenes written: 13 (I guarantee they are shorter than Paula’s)

Words written: approximately 12,000

Pages: 50

Goal: finish Act One by the end of November. No pie unless my goal is met. Rewards help. Yikes, that means only 3 days to go.

Happy writing fellow 5Writers.

And may all our future readers take time to enjoy uninterrupted moments engrossed in our stories.

9 thoughts on “Enjoy the moment

  1. Hi Karalee,
    I concur entirely with your comments on Social Media addiction… I must admit to feeling the urge to check my iphone’s inbox more often then I ever need to do, and am trying to curb that by leaving my phone at home when I go out to dinner or somewhere else where I feel it is inappropriate to divide my attention. But what really bugs me is when I go out to dinner at a restaurant and see parents with their kids, and ALL are looking at their smartphones and no one is talking to one another. I predict we will see a ‘backlash’ to this madness. How are these children ever going to learn the ‘etiquette of the iphone’ and develop appropriate social skills? What’s more, what subjects are they going to be able to converse intelligently about? The state of the economy, environment or foreign affairs. The nuances or merit of a play, or book or movie? I don’t think so. And I don’t care how many points they earned playing a game downloaded from the App store.

    Something to think about, indeed.

    • So true Paula. The first time I was distraught about the interference of screen time with family time was in Italy over a decade ago when many of the restaurants had started putting televisions in to the dining area. Families stopped talking. Now with smartphones the opportunity to have family discussions are even less.
      Thank goodness the Greer Family members are vocal and all have opinions to share!

    • I love how easy Scrivener is to use and set up. With the cork board I can move around my scenes instantly, and if I make changes to titles of scenes it is automatically changed in the file name and on the cork board, etc. . I have my research all in one place and don’t have to go into and out of MS Word to refer to stuff. LOVE IT! And all for under $50.00

  2. Nice post, Karalee. Oh boy, you have opened a huge can of worms! I so agree with everything you and Paula said. Nothing annoys me more than people texting and checking their messages when they are in discourse with others. And it’s not just teenagers (though the worst example I can think of is my granddaughter checking and texting under the table during dinner). In that connection, what disturbs me is how Facebook is turning into some kind of competitive game about how many friends one can ‘collect’. There are countless users who have well over 5,000 friends! How can this be? I know this is a popular game among tweens and teens. But I am talking about adults. If number of friends on FB is the new status symbol, what does that say about our society? Am I being too conventional?

  3. No you’re not too conventional. What we seem to agree on is that we need to preserve the right to conversation! And that goes for the right to read uninterrupted as well….

  4. The right to conversation depends on the ART of conversation which has to be cultivated. T.V’s and smartphones stunt that cultivation. I think smartphones are a crutch, as much as a distraction, because folks don’t know how to talk to each other any more and are uncomfortable with the silence. Checking the phone all the time conceals the isolation.

    BTW, I’m a major jazz fan too, Karalee, and deflect distractions by closing my eyes and listening to the interaction between the instruments. There’s so much to hear when the musicians are talented.

  5. I echo everyone’s thoughts on cyber-distraction. But it’s not the only force that keeps us from being “present” in the moment — in fact, I think that “being here now” is something that adults have to constantly re-learn after we lose the natural focus of kids at play.

    I find that I pay real attention to novelty, but the “same old same old” sends my mind off looking for other amusements. Result: mindless multi-tasking. Problem is, the older we get, the more likely we are to tune out the familiar, and in the process we miss the uniqueness and novelty of each new moment. I’m trying to practice awareness, and it’s surprisingly hard!

    Good luck on the writing — sounds to me like you’re doing really well. It’ll come!

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