I’m possibly speaking only for myself here - but when I read a blog or a newspaper online I read the title and the opening argument and then decide I’ve got the gist of it and decide if I want to skim from there or if it’s going to repay the time investment to read it thoroughly. These days more and more pieces are skimmed - it’s so easy to get the general idea and then click on something else. Many online newspapers make the process easier by confusing sentences with paragraphs - everything is divided into three-line chunks. Facebook posts - if someone has something deep and meaningful to say, they need to grab me in the first couple of sentences.
And then I sit down to read a real book. I curl up on the sofa with tea (or wine). I have an hour or two to wallow in real print on real paper. But after half an hour I’m restless - it’s time to move on to something else. A few years ago I could read the clock round and move only when I needed a wee.
I sit down to research something I’m trying to write. A few years ago I could surround myself with books and papers and notebooks and wallow in the way bits of information from here there and everywhere slowly unfold into a new story. But now - I find my mind wandering long before that story evolves. I want answers - it’s hard to hang in there, even though I know that’s the only way to find what I’m really looking for.
Even the writing - I need to be truly drowning in a project if I’m to hang in there for hour after hour and resist the lure of emails.
Is it just me? Is it that I’m getting older? Or is it the internet, with its soundbites and instant gratification, that has eaten those brain cells that used to revel in the hours I could spend delving into stuff in real depth?
You can find links to my fiction and travel writing at jocarroll.co.uk - some of it easy to dip even into if you, too, have the concentration of a gnat.