Don't Re-Elect the Internet

“I’ve never had any luck with publishing companies. Nobody has, really—discounting the handful of Famous Bestselling Authors you read about in the NYT. It occurred to me, a few weeks ago, that I personally know about forty people who have sold books to big or medium-sized publishers, and their experiences are all the same: Long after you’ve written it and long after you’ve spent the advance on food and rent, a forgotten little bundle of words with an inscrutable cover is released in the night, you might do a few readings in empty Barnes & Noble stores on a weekday, and then four or five years later you still can’t get a simple accounting record. Very few writers will mourn the end of the New York Publishing Industry.”
That’s not the only notable quotable in this interview with Ken Layne. In fact there is another part so good that, well, let’s read on! It’s about finding out whether you’re better off without the Internet.

We have a remarkable ability to know exactly what things we’re doing are harmful to us …. and then we keep doing those things, until we decide to stop.

For anyone who feels this Internet emptiness chewing at them, I would say, do a little test. Go outside and take a 15-minute walk — around the block, through the park, just a short walk. While you’re doing this, clear your mind of work and of home. Just look at things, birds and cars and trees and the clouds and buildings and dumpsters, and when you think of something internal just say “thinking” to yourself and go back to walking and breathing. Then return to your computer. Do the usual things you do on your computer, like check the news and your email and the blogs you read and whatever people post on Facebook and Twitter.

Do this second part, the computer-looking-at, for just 15 minutes. You can set one of those web timers… hang on, I have one in my bookmarks.

When this stopwatch beeps, honestly ask yourself how you feel. Compare this to how you felt at the end of your 15-minute walk. Ask yourself what, if anything, you learned during those 15 minutes of wasting time on the Internet. Did it help you in some way? Are you better off? This is a question often asked by political challengers: Are you better off than __ years ago? Well, are you better off than fifteen minutes ago? If not, don’t re-elect the Internet.

BOOM. LIVE WITH YOURSELF NOW.