By Lisabet Sarai
I woke up yesterday morning (Sunday) agonizing about this blog post. What should I talk about? We all have our worries. I didn't want to sound whiney. I thought about a post entitled 'Consider the Lilies', dealing with the futility of worry in the face of life's grand uncertainty, and the need to trust the universe. However, I concluded that would have been too preachy.
Maybe I should write a story addressing the topic, the way Garce always does? I actually came up with an idea (think about all our worries during the sex act!), but then I decided I couldn't afford to spend my time penning a random tale when I have a 60K novel due at the end of January and I'm only at the 30K mark. (I'll file that notion away in my notebook for some future date, when I've got free time – huh!)
How was I going to produce something as creative as Garce, as insightful as Giselle, as erudite as Jean? Being first to address each Grip topic is not an enviable status, believe me. The rest of the contributors can riff on my post, or take my initial direction and throw in a curve or two. Me, I'm flying blind.
All these familiar, minor worries faded, though when I got to my computer and discovered that our ADSL was down.
Oh my God! No email. No blogs. No way to check for comments or visitor stats. And forget about writing the darned blog. How was I going to post it?
These days even a single day of Internet outage is a small catastrophe for me.
I can check my “real world” email at work, but Lisabet's communications are restricted to a specific computer, with an encrypted drive to keep all my work and messages safe from prying eyes. Furthermore, these days, the business of being an author critically depends on connectivity. Without the Internet, I can't communicate with my editors, my readers, or my colleagues. There are rational reasons for me to worry about being cut off from the 'Net.
My panic, though, extended far beyond rationality. Disconnected, I felt helpless, alone, totally out of the loop. No Writers list posts flowing into my inbox. No requests for guest spots. No updates from my publisher. No notices of glowing reviews on Amazon or Goodreads (yeah, right...)
And I realized that I worry a lot about being connected, all the time. I don't have a smart phone and my husband the security geek strictly forbids the use of Wi-Fi. When I'm away from my home office for an entire day, I start to get edgy. I know the email messages are piling up. (I typically get 100 to 200 messages a day.) I wonder when I'm going to have time to sort through them. In a very real sense, the only time I can be Lisabet is when I'm online.
When we go on a business trip or a vacation – heavens! The anxiety is grueling. Before we leave, I unsubscribe from as many lists as possible, to reduce my mail volume. I try to pre-schedule blog posts, release and contest announcements and so on. While we're traveling, it's usually difficult and/or expensive to get online. When we went to France last spring, we paid $60 for a SIM card we could use in our GSM modem, so we could check email without worrying about Wi-fi malware. And we (both) took significant chunks of time from our holiday schedule to handle critical online issues.
I remember traveling in the eighties and the nineties. No need to worry about connectivity. We could disappear for a week or two. We didn't care who was trying to contact us. Sometimes we wouldn't even look at a newspaper for a week. A simpler, easier, more innocent time, that seems now.
I wouldn't want to give up this connectivity, though. I love “talking” to all these people, all around the world. I'd be terribly isolated without the 'Net. I'd never have “met” Desiree, or Lily, or J.P. Now that I've got this wonderful blessing, though, I'm always concerned about losing it.
The broadband link is still down. We can't reach our provider – yesterday we were on hold for forty five minutes. They're doing some sort of system conversion, so that might explain this lengthy (and unusual) outage. Meanwhile, my darling techie husband hooked up the GSM modem so that we can have a minimal (slow, expensive) connection to the outside world. And so I could post this blog.
Now I'm worrying about when we'll be online again.