A wide-ranging discussion about the pleasures and distractions of the internet with Amanda Palmer, a musician whose DIY spirit, creative energy, and songwriting skills I deeply respect. “I think being bored is really important,” she says. Yes. I’ve sometimes thought I owe a real debt of gratitude to the optometrists and orthodonists in whose waiting rooms I spent so many endless hours of my childhood. Without them, would I ever have developed the habits of mind necessary for that kind of focused daydreaming we call writing?
But I also saw myself in Palmer’s description of her writing process, needing to be online in order to look up words on Google and explore ideas in Wikipedia. I’m not ashamed to admit that I use Wikipedia almost constantly when I write poems — who wants to risk being badly mistaken about some Norse mythology allusion, or (to cite something from my latest poem) the exact purpose of a gyroscope?
I share Palmer’s sense that the relationship with one’s blog is almost indistinguishable from a long-term, committed relationship with another person. I don’t feel that way about Twitter or Identica, though, much less Facebook. To me, those sites are more like fun, low-key parties where you can drift in and out of interesting conversations without feeling like you have to stick around.