Friday, March 6, 2009

Screen Time vs. Page Time

A few weeks ago, I purchased a few books that I've been wanting to read for awhile that I couldn't find at my local libraries. I've been reading them voraciously! Made it through one, when I started getting that "blah" feeling partway through the next one. You know that feeling, sorta like you need to take a shower but you know you are technically clean, or perhaps like a jolt of caffeine will move you out of that zoney space. Or a jog. But you can't get moving. A wee bit of funk going on in your head where nothing sounds quite satisfying and you're headed towards grumpsville. I noticed it, but wasn't sure how to get out of it. Reading more sounded like it would leave me in more of the same space. But circumstances being what they were with my life (i.e., attending to my son) other forms of diversion didn't seem available, and quite frankly, I was hooked on my book, so I kept reading. The book I was reading at the time is called The Artist's Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving this book, but I was basically stuffed on the written word. Yet there I was reading Chapter 4, when Cameron calls for you to submit to a week of reading deprivation. A-ha! Of course, that's exactly what I need right now. So while part of me is hankering to find out all the other ideas in the book, I know what I really need is some quiet time.
"Reading deprivation casts us into our inner silence, a space some of us begin to immediately fill with new words - long, gossipy conversations, television bingeing, the radio as a constant, chatty companion. We often cannot hear our own inner voice, the voice of our artist's inspiration, above the static. "
So, I'm picking up my meditative knitting, eyeing my spinning, observing my breath, getting into my sewing studio, playing chess. Soduko anyone?

Playing chess?! That's actually a part of my screen time lately. My husband and I are playing chess. I learned to play chess as a child but never really played as an adult. But somehow my MMORPGing, Sacred-loving, husband has gotten into the game. First as a way to connect with distant family members and now me, his not so distant family. Its nice to play electronically with a toddler tornado in the house. I don't have to worry if my little guy has stolen my knight or if my husband has "accidentally" moved my rook. I'm enjoying relaxing into the game (I tend to get riled up into looking at every possible move and I'm a wee bit competitive with my husband sometimes) and to just play. One game will last days, but that's ok. Its a nice speed. My husband has also discovered that several of his bachelor friends have a chess client for their iPhones. So he's been playing them as well. He's been walking around the house with his phone in his hand, playing chess and describing what's unfolding over at his friends' place. One of them will play Grand Theft Auto 4, while the other 3 guys are all playing chess with everyone else. Then the Playstation dude will hand off the controller and give some one else a chance and get his chess moves in. A groan will go up as someone looses their queen. An ancient two player turn based game has become a social connectivity tool.

I find it interesting to look at my experiences with books vs. video games the past few weeks. The conventional view is that books are somehow higher culturally than video games. Video games are bad and books are good. Especially if you are a child. As parents we need to make sure that our children are getting the good stuff and we need to limit the bad stuff. As an unschooler and, dare I say, as a Buddhist, that's not my world view. They are ways to occupy my time, nothing more and nothing less. And its interesting to see an example turned on its head. Not good, not bad but rather what's working and what's not working for me. I've obviously OD'ed on the written word and have been exercising other parts of my brain via the internet, even connecting with my husband between parenting duties. Rejecting the conventional view, ditching the cultural values surrounding acceptable pastimes as they are doing me little good, and tuning in to my own knowledge of what is helpful to me right now.

I think I will try to sew a bit more tonight and give Cameron another shot in a few days after my brain has been given some space to breath. In. Out. Always there.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the thought provoking post!

varenia said...

I found your blog following the link from SMS (the sanbox pants... yours and your sweet son are gorgeous! Thanks for showing a pic with them on!)

This post struck a chord with me. I read the Artist's Way in college, thanks for reminding me, and I thought your video games vs. books thought was interesting. As my oldest son (6 years) has reached boy-hood, I find myself constantly struggling with his requests for media/games/shows that his peers are participating in, and he does as well in moderation. Thanks for the reminder that these things are not inherently bad, or any worse than any other form of busy-ness. Modeling and encouraging balance for him (and myself) right now I think could work a world of wonder.

Anonymous said...

nice post. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did anyone know that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.