It’s amazing how much I can get done, compositionally speaking, when there are no distractions.
When I compose at my computer, I quit my browser and mail programs. Sometimes I can peek online while I am working, and the brief glances reset my brain for more intensive work. But usually they pull me too far away from the task at hand, and I lose continuity of thought. So I switch the internet off. Sure, I could still pull the handheld from my pocket to check what’s coming in, but that doesn’t seem to be as tempting.
When I was at Wintergreen last month, I was staying in a condo that had no internet access. I had a five-minute walk uphill to get online, which made it easy enough for me to make use of the web, but also insulated me from its persistent siren.
In two weeks on the mountain, I composed one work, tweaked two others, and drafted a fourth. That despite attending nine concerts, a bunch of rehearsals, and teaching classes and lessons. I got more than usual done because I wasn’t getting poked and prodded all day long by the incessant nudge.
Don’t want to rail against the improvements technology has brought me, but it’s nice to escape its more pernicious aspects from time to time. Every once in awhile, the glowing logo on the lid of my laptop, Satan’s irresistible fruit, seems a little too appropriate.
And, by the way, how long do you suppose it will be before the terms “online” and “offline” sound dated? More and more of us are connecting without a line in sight.