December 29, 2013

Since I write on a more intense level I have a tendency to read more. More books that is. I turn off the TV and read. Curl up on the coach and indulge in a reading spree. This is during the hours where the light of day is dim and the daily duties are done. (Although the distinction is not always as clear as it may sound now.)
A daily read has the ring of necessity to it, I cannot help it: an old voice from within softly commands me to read the most useful since there is so much other stuff to do. So when I read in the studio, where I do must of my ‘stuff’ there has to be a connection with the future ‘stuff’. I hope I make myself clear. I distinguish work-related books, non-fiction mostly from the ones waiting to be grabbed at a more leisurely hour.

The book I have almost read is The Circle by Dave Eggers. Buying it for my boyfriend I knew I would be the first to read it. Knowing about the plot and having read one review, I believe in the NYT online, I knew what I was in for: a critical but parodist tale of lives online, mocking the power of the major web players and such, the loss of privacy and so on.
After reading ten pages I almost decided to leave Facebook, and to forget about twitter immediately. Not that I am the most active person on the web – there you go – but throwing around personal shit without knowing who may find it, indeed is silly enough as it is. I don’t need Eggers modernized 1984 to rub this in. But still. There is a scene at the end in the book where the former lover of the protagonist tries to escape from a digital and physical hunt down and dies. He drives, faster and faster, flees on a small road into the woods, and heading north and more north he loses complete control.

The online life, yeah, what about it? Is there a point in sharing information on what I have done for Christmas this year, how my dog looked today when she was filmed by artists trying to raise money for their project, or the good time I had with a friend finishing the montage of a registration of her first performance at the gallery she and I are both connected with? I did think about it, walking through the Vondelpark, with everyone staring at my goofy looking dog. I looked at her, my old dog, best friend ever, and with every blink of my eyes I took a mental picture of her. The unexpected sun, a herd of tiny dogs (like toys, I am not making this up!) in the background would have made for some really great Facebook footage. Damn. I chose not to, thanks to good old Dave E.’s writing skills. Or maybe it was not exactly his writing, since this is certainly not his finest work to be honest, but the message he delivers does creep in.

Reading the book about the loss of privacy made me realize the point of enjoying an experience while it lasts, in the moment, in the now, or however you would like to call it. I am not the first person to leave the digital prison, the omnipresent mass of people calling themselves ‘friend’ who cheer on whatever silly thing I do. I am not ready yet. To leave it completely I mean.

Who will write the next book that tops the message of The Circle and will convince me, convince us all?