My Dearest Friend,
A few days ago I was winding down a Skype conversation, when suddenly the windows on my computer disappeared. The screen went black, and the machine powered down. Silence.
I touched the back of my laptop. It radiated heat. I decided it would be best if I left the machine off for a while, and asked my computer-engineer husband to look at it when he returned home that evening..
But it meant the whole afternoon ahead of me with no computer.
I live on my computer. As a writer and an astrologer, my work life revolves around my laptop – email, the Internet, instant messaging, my word processor, astrology charting software, social networks and more. My machine is the first thing I greet in the morning when I wake up, and sometimes the last place I stop before heading off to bed.
I like technology. I was born at a generational crossroads: part of the last class to learn to type on a typewriter, part of the first class to produce the school newspaper on a word processor. I’ll happily give you my television, and you can even take away my phone, but don’t tread on my Internet connection. The Internet is how I communicate with business partners, clients and friends in far-flung places; it is a window on the wider world.
But like so many other things, technology is a bittersweet blessing. Like the Lady of Shalott, as we weave our virtual realities, are we cursing ourselves to look at only reflections of the world, never living in it? In Tennyson’s words from his poem Lady of Shalott:
But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror’s magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot;
Or when the Moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed.
“I am half sick of shadows,” said
The Lady of Shalott.
Has my LCD become the looking glass of my own enchantment?
Lately I’ve been thinking about how much I miss writing. Not tapping on a keyboard. The sensual experience of writing… with pen and paper, fountain pens and ink-stained fingers. On a computer, words are sanitized and spell-checked, created and destroyed with the press of a button. In contrast, there is something organic and intimate about a hand-written letter, with its smudges, hesitations and crossed out phrases. Imperfect. Real.
During my expected afternoon untethered from the electric box, I went to the stationery store. I returned home with paper, ink and sealing wax. I moved my computer off the writing desk in the center of my office, to a table on the side. And in the newly cleared space, I sat down and wrote a letter. Smudges and all.
With Love, from Luna.
Full Moon in Sagittarius.