“This book is about a yearning and a need. It’s about finding a quiet, spacious place where the mind can wander free. We all know what that place feels like, and we used to know how to get there. But lately we’re having trouble finding it.” – from Hamlet’s Blackberry by William Powers
I am new to the smartphone world, so I listened with interest when MPR aired William Powers’ presentation from the Aspen Ideas Festival. He spoke of what our extreme connectedness does to our lives and our need for solitide.
His words resonated with me pretty strongly because I am a big believer in the power of solitude. As a writer, I create alone, and I have learned to value the times when I have no one with whom to interact. The times when I am waiting, for example, are perfect to simply observe. With a smartphone in my purse or pocket, how often will I stand at a bus stop without pulling out my phone?
It seems I have added another layer of decision-making to my everyday life.
I will say, however, that just a couple of weeks in to my smartphone experience, I believe I am a better parent with it at least in one aspect. I now spend my bus commute home from work catching up on emails and social media for the day, so when I get home I can focus on my daughter without distraction.
That is a good thing.