Book Review: The Girl with Ghost Eyes

When Your Writing Goes Wrong

Step Away From the Computer and No One Will Get Hurt

  • July 24, 2017
  • Blog

There’s an old I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel bet Ricky and Fred that they couldn’t manage without modern conveniences. Although the episode is really funny, I loved it for the actual doing of things, like baking bread and churning butter. I doubt I’d want to do that on a regular basis, but once in a while chores like that have a certain charm. Things take the time they take.

So over the weekend I baked my very first scones ever. Then I pressed a block of tofu and made a dish of sweet-and-spicy tofu with cashews. Cooking and baking created a slower pace that was satisfying even while I kept up with email and Twitter and the rest. I felt very smug about it.

Then my cordless mouse croaked. I panicked in a way that would have—should have—been funny. Except it wasn’t. I had to rearrange the next day to drive to the store to buy a new mouse and I wasn’t happy. But I finally got the mouse to work and realized how ridiculous I’d been. No trip to the store was needed but if it had, well, it was only a mouse. An expense, but not the end of the world.

What would have happened if my mouse had stayed broken? I could have written with paper and pen. My iPhone kept me connected to the Internet and email if I needed them. My Kindle was available to read from. And yet, that panic and frustration overrode everything I could have done.

I’m making a conscious effort to be Internet free for one day out of the week. I can still write, and if I need to contact someone on that day, there’s an odd little device called the telephone. But the computer is off limits, including the access available on my iPhone. It doesn’t matter which device has the connection—for one day, the connection is off.

I tried it. It was an odd, blank feeling at first. I became starkly aware how much of my time and energy was spent online. I wandered through my house with little purpose. But eventually, as the day went on, the quiet left space in my thoughts. And maybe the next time my mouse decides it really does need to be replaced, I’ll just shrug and click my pen open or reach for a frying pan.

Stepping away from the computer for a day? I recommend it.


  • Christine Verrone • July 24, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    So, how did the scones turn out? Where did you get the recipe from? I’ve tried several recipes and mine always come out too dry! Next time, I plan to cut some flour down a bit ( maybe by two tablespoonfuls )see if that helps.

    We’ve been making our own butter. It’s much better than store bought stuff. Cheaper too! And super easy! Let me know if you want the recipe.

    • J. M. Levinton • July 24, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      I’ve made butter but at the time, was trying to make whipped cream! LOL

      Here’s the recipe I made, super easy and plain:

      I have two added hints to making these: One, when cutting the dough, don’t saw it, just make one straight cut down each time. And two, freezing the pieces does make it rise higher but I had no room in my freezer for the cookie sheet so I gently transferred the pieces to a plate that had parchment paper on it, then slid it into the freezer for 15 min. Then I gently transferred the pieces to the cookie sheet to bake. (And I love parchment paper because it really makes it easy to remove everything later.)

  • Jan • July 26, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    I try to balance my social media activities with working in the garden, cooking or other household projects of which there are entirely too many. Course I’m too old to sit for long periods of time with getting stiff.

    • J. M. Levinton • July 26, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      Working in the garden sounds wonderful.

  • Kathy • September 27, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Oh, boy, did this post resonate. The digital addiction is real! Sometimes I feel like twitter is sucking away my soul and turning me into a mindless zombie. I try to make a point of doing some creative writing/brainstorming one day each with using a fountain pen (I’m a fountain pen enthusiast) inked with a bold color in a quality notebook. The multi-sensory engagement of the act usually does the trick of bringing me back to the real world again. Keep fighting the good fight, and thanks for the post.

    • J. M. Levinton • September 27, 2017 at 11:22 am

      Thank you! I have to admit, it’s still a struggle. But the right pen is SO important! Yours sounds wonderful.

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