Newspaper Clipping(s) of the Week.

This week’s choice newspaper clippings come from The Age‘s Sunday Life supplement (Eye of the Beholder, August 8, 2010) and Good Weekend (Calendar Girl, August 7, 2010), respectively.

Calendar Girl, written by Virginia Heffernan, deals with hard-copy diaries like Filofax and the like versus the iPhone and Blackberry’s digitised versions. This is something I struggle to consolidate in my life, as I am an über-fan of stationary, but I just don’t have room in my life for physical lists, schedules etc., when the digital option is right there.

Sometimes I get a bit sick of talking about body image (what with the multitude of blogs, magazines and articles I read each week, as well as the issue being a common theme in my blog posts), but William Leith’s article, Eye of the Beholder, looks at it from a different angle. Why do women look “at a model and fall apart”, while men “shrug off [their] own belly”? Thought provoking stuff.

(Sorry about the crappy formatting—my scanner prefers A4 sized documents.)

Great Expectations

In otherand final, for this week at leastworkaholics news, from The New Yorker’s Book Bench, “there’s no point in worrying about all those books you haven’t gotten to yet, because very often our preconceived idea of what a book will be is just as valid and enlightening as the book itself might be.”

So do bookworms rejoice in the fact that there’s no need to get through our stacks of unread books (personally, I have The Babysitters Club, American Psycho, a second reading of Mia Freedman’s memoir, Mama Mia, and Hollywood Ending by Kathy Charlesto get througha well balanced literary meal, if a little too heavy on the fluff, don’t you think?); that the very idea of what they’re like will sustain our literary appetites?

I understand what author Kristy Logan’s original hypothesis is attesting to, that sometimes “an unread book is an intoxicating, romantic thing, and the act of reading is, in one sense, destructive” to what could have been, however I don’t agree with it.

Fiercely loyal, I will not put a book down until the very last page, no matter how much of a struggle it was to read. Dr. Zhivago, I’m looking at you. I had great expectations for that book, however I was brutally disappointed. Bret Easton Ellis’ Glamorama is another one that comes to mind. I do feel like by reading these books, my fantastical idea of them before I turned their pages has been knocked out of me.

On the other hand, there’s nothing like being utterly surprised by how good a book is, and how profoundly it affects you. Frequent readers of this blog will know that Another City, Not My Own is that for me. The Lovely Bones is one I was pleasantly surprised about, (at the risk of sounding like a bogan) only reading it because I wanted to see the film. While I think the ending was utter bullshit, the integrity of the rest of the story outweighs the disappointing ending for me.

Logan assures us that she doesn’t encourage leaving “all books unread”, questioning whether she should call them “‘pre-read’ books instead”.

The excitement of a “pre-read book”? Now that I can understand.

Related: Things Bogans Like.

Elsewhere: [The New Yorker] Not Enough Time.

[The Millions] Confined by Pages: The Joy of Unread Books.

Internet Fog

Following on from yesterday’s “Workaholics Anonymous” post, I stumbled upon this poem, originally called “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas and “remixed by Carolyn Kellogg” on the L.A. Times book blog, Jacket Copy.

While it is in essence “a plea… to the Poetry Foundation” not to scale “back its blog in favour of Twitter and Facebook,” essentially becoming “not quite a blog anymore,” it can certainly be applied to blog fatigue and internet overload.

Do not go gentle into that internet fog,
Writing should burn and rage complete
Rage, rage against the dying of the blog.

Unwise men think sentences do bog,
But what can be said in just a Tweet?
Do not go gentle into that internet fog.

Good men at laptops watch agog,
Their words sucked into a Facebook data sheet
Rage, rage against the dying of the blog.

A wild man who drinks the German grog
Leaves updates, a 4G phone — he’s indiscreet!
Do not go gentle into that internet fog.

Grave men crave followers and flog
And flog for more with desperate heat
Rage, rage against the dying of blog.

And you, dear poets, know writing is no slog
The ebb and flow of words is sweet
Do not go gentle into that internet fog,
Rage, rage against the dying of the blog.

Related: Workaholics Anonymous.

Elsewhere: [Jacket Copy] On Ceasing to Blog: Do Not Go Gentle.

Workaholics Anonymous

Back in April, sex and gender blogger Rachel Hills wrote about workaholism and its relationship to the internet.

“My name’s Rachel and I’m a workaholic. And I think the internet may have something to do with it.”

Well, hello Rachel. My name is Scarlett, and I, too, feel your pain.

While I wouldn’t say that my workaholism stems from my actual paid job (customer service is not exactly an occupation you “take home with you”; at the end of the day, I couldn’t think of anything worse than continuing to put on a happy face when disgruntled patrons have been telling you where to shove it all day, you’ve got a sore back and feet and all you want to do is go home and lapse into a coma), I definitely need to be busy. If I’m not, I become unmotivated, and that unmotivation facilitates more unmotivation. Which then festers and turns into guilt. Even when I’m “not doing anything”, I’m actually doing something; catching up on reading, TV shows, movies etc (see photo). If I have a block of free time in the foreseeable future, I will plan the crap out of it, ensuring that I maximise my time by fitting as much as I possibly can into it. Kind of like the spaceor lack thereofin my wardrobe.

Hills says the unremitting stimulus of the internet “serves as a constant reminder of all the things I could be doing and thinking about… Every day I come up with more ideas than I could ever have time to pursue.”

And such is the drawback of being a blogger; we do it out of passion and a need to stimulate others and be stimulated. Unfortunately, blogging doesn’t stimulate cash flow much of the time.

My workplace is in demand at the moment, so here I am weighing up the integrity of this here blog and how much time I’ll have to work on it versus paying the bills, not mention a social life and my über-important “me time”. Hills touches on this in her post, and references the similar dilemmas of Girl with a Satchel Erica Bartle and Wordsmith Laner Sarah Ayoub. Personally, I don’t know how Ayoub balances her paid job, blog, thesis, novel writing, freelancing and wedding planning with day to day banalities! I’m having a conniption just thinking about it!

Hills suggests that a way to lighten the load, personally, is to narrow “my focus to the work I think will have the greatest impact” which “helps me manage and prioritise my load.”

Beyond that, we need to “be confident in our own choices.” For me, it’s a balancing act between being confident that what I’m doing is the right path for me (for about a year I went through a post-quarter-life crisis when my dream of having a magazine career fell through and I faced the possibility of being a check-out-chick for life!), and what others’ think (ie. family who wonder whether blogging is financially secure. FYI, it’s not).

Hills really sums it up nicely, saying that:

“I may wish I was doing more work (like I said, workaholic), but I’m also pretty secure that the work I do choose to focus on is the most important and effective for the ends I’m seeking. I’m also secure in my ability to choose which people I want to spend time with, which events look like they’ll be the most fun, what time I want to get there and what time I want to go home.”

Most of my friends will say I’m a stickler for a schedule, but I’m working on becoming more flexible with my time; it’s not heart attack-inducing material if I don’t get everything I wanted to do done. (Although, as a type A personality, I’m not so sure…)

However, like Hills says, confidence is key in having the courage of your convictions and not having to apologise to anyone for doing what you want to do.

Elsewhere: [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman] My Name’s Rachel, and I’m a Workaholic. And I Think the Internet May Have Something to Do With It.

[Wordsmith Lane] A Great Piece of Writing… And My Personal Thoughts.