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Englishmajoring, Blogging lead to same existential dilemma

February 23, 2007

A blog I often read went through what a normal day at work was for her as a telecommuter for a fairly large social networking site, and her description of her ability to multi-task and the amount of work she’s bombarded with day after day made me want to take a nap. And yet, she has time to write novel length fiction.

So I did a quick tally of where my time goes each week. 12.5 hours actual class time, 14.5 hours working/commuting to work, 49 hours of sleep (this is generous), 14 hours for a column I designated “random crap” (2 hours a day). Which leaves me 58 hours of “time to myself”, which of course, means the time I do homework, the time I eat, what time I find myself sitting in front of a computer: reading, thinking, occasionally writing.

If you follow blogrolls, commented links, the “top ten” page on the front of WordPress, the rabbit hole of blogging is enough to make you dizzy. I read a few of my favorites through an RSS reader, and usually “stumble upon” the rest. The result can be hour-long trips through the internet, and being a young and thoughtful person, the weight of information, the contrary opinions with equally refuting evidence, the sheer brilliance and stupidity of people around the world begins to build up and I find myself with a.) a headache or b.) impossibly discouraged and wanting to rant to my roommate.

So imagine my surprise when I realized my latest seminar assignment, Don DeLillo’s White Noise, was written in 1985, and yet reproduced that sense of overwhelming information that exists in anyone’s brain in 2007. Today I heard a story about someone who gave up their computer for Lent. What? How was this even possible?

You’d think this would drive a person devoted to the study of literature and ideas back into the library, to sit among the manageable and easily visualized store of information, but it doesn’t seem to work that way. As part of my Photo 365 project, I posted a photographically uninteresting shot of my Paris Review collected interviews with authors weighing down the coaxial cables running from the cable splitter to my second TV. What’s a better way to show the fight between my literature side and my technological side? I have foreign acronyms like CSS, FTP, PS CS2 on my resume, and yet that’s the bare minimum in a technological field (and in times of extreme stress, I turn to NASA TV and wonder why I wasn’t better at math so I could be an engineer). You might be an English major, but you’ve got to know this stuff. Also, google-fu is good for anyone.

And my very own English department (yes, mine, a stalwart part of my identity now, to fight against the “well what are you going to do with an English major” blues) has strode forward into the internet (or Web 2.0) age, putting all the department news on one blog, in addition to the excellent In the Middle and University Diaries (disclosure: blogs of current professors, admit total bias).

And see, I’m tired again, but before I get blog nausea or fatigue or whatever’s been invented up to describe what Don DeLillo said better, I leave you with a throwback photo. Click to “biggify”.

Reflecting Pool

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