Saturday, August 30, 2014

Solitude in a crowded space

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”  —Mark Twain
The right word makes all the difference because there is always a right word, even though there may be many synonyms. I believe this to be true, and I know a lot of words (that happens to us readers), but sometimes that perfect word doesn't come readily. Sometimes lately, however, I have to go back to a piece dozens of times before that right word comes. I noticed this more in recent years, and it could be just that I am a more conscientious writer. But I can't help but wonder if this is, in fact, a result of knowing more than I used to. 
I first heard about the Internet of Things a year ago, but I didn't really care to understand it. Recently,  however, it seems to come up a lot, and now that I know what I do, I can't stop thinking about it. This concept is basically that any device can be connected to any other device, assuming both are connected to an internet source. This means the amount of connected data is so vast that its value is diluted, creating a problem for those looking to answer specific questions from unique connected devices. This is probably not the best definition. Wiki may do it better, but the basic concept is that if we have access to too much at one time, we become overwhelmed and have trouble assigning value to a thing.
I feel like much of our lives - being on Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and Instagram, while also streaming TV and chatting via work computer systems that have completely different rules and protocol than home systems, and playing games, even worrying about identity theft as we enter our credit card numbers into an online service while knowing that hackers are capable of pretty much watching our every move - is a balance between wanting to be heard and wanting to be left alone. It seems very few people don't want at least a little of both, and the way to accomplish that is to streamline what we do. Cut the social media to the bare bones and set time/day limits to use so as to, I don't know, live a little.
This is a topic I plan to explore more in a forthcoming blog post, possibly a blog post for Fiction Southeast, but I can't help but think about it as I pack my stuff, preparing for a move, as I realize how many physical objects are being replaced by fewer but more connected objects.
This is my prompt for the week (it's connected and a little more abstract than usual):
Write about a person who is lonely for whatever reason and reaches out online. Eventually, said person is so connected that he or she loses track of his/her individuality. But write about this person from either another character's POV or from a third-person POV. Write about this person's life as her/his identity fades and fragments, and decide if there is a solution that eventually brings solidification. Maybe this is a good thing, maybe not.   

I think this will be a particularly challenging one. I think I'll pack another box before I try it. :)

Have a beautiful weekend, all! And if you're in the states, enjoy the extra day.

xo Jen

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