I have on numerous occasions remarked that when I come to Paris, the voice in my head that has, all my life, told me that I was not working hard enough falls still. That was indeed once so, but it seems no longer to be true. Earlier today, Susie asked me what had happened. I thought about it for a bit and decided that the fault lies squarely with the Internet. In the old days, when we came to Paris, I was for the entire time essentially incommunicado. Oh, if it was necessary, I could place a long-distance overseas call [always a bit complicated with my PhoneCard, what with an eleven digit Pin Number and all], but I felt that the world was unaware of me, and so I could relax. I feel the same way as soon as I arrive at an airport terminal to catch a plane, which is one of the reasons I like to travel. Since there is nothing I can do while waiting for the plane, I can relax. This was also one of the principal attractions of the safari we took last April. In the Okavango Delta, one is really out of touch.
But now, the world is wired, and I feel myself obligated to stay in touch. Being unable for the first two weeks of our stay to make the wireless connection in my apartment work was hell. I was not relieved, I was frantic.
The same can be said for running a blog. In the past, each time I finished a book, I felt a sense of relief that lasted for at least a week. In effect, I could say to the voice in my head, "There! I've done what you asked. Now go away and leave me alone." But a blog, if I may steal a phrase from an earlier period in Gestalt Theory, presents an Objective Demand, rather like a partially completed circle asking to be finished. No matter how many hundreds of thousands of words I write for this blog, I feel each day the demand to write something new, striking, interesting, original. If I may paraphrase Ecclesiastes, 12:12, "And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many blogs there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh."
Thank God I have not figured out how to unlock my IPhone!