Electricity and the Cycles of Time

In the meantime, Bridgett M. Davis, a Brooklyn-based novelist, said she recently learned how important it was to keep her personal electronics charged while on a tour promoting her book, “Shifting Through Neutral.”

“It was vital that I charge my technology in the hotel at night,” she said. “I would stay plugged in as much as I could while handling business.”

But back in Brooklyn, alone with her laptop as she writes a new novel, Ms. Davis said she had come to a reassuring realization. The faltering battery life of her aging computer now dictates the length of her daily writing sessions: two hours.

“It shapes my writing intervals,” said Ms. Davis, an English professor at Baruch College in Manhattan. When her computer’s display goes dark, she doesn’t search frantically for a free outlet. Instead, Ms. Davis said matter-of-factly, “I know it’s time to stop.”

The above is from the NYT article linked from above. It’s the last four paragraphs of the story, and struck a chord within me. I work in technology, and have for the better part of the last six or seven years. I sit, bathed in the luminescence of a monitor, in the radiation of a PC, for eight hours a day, five days a week.

The other side of me: I love antique tools, simple tools. I love to write with a pen on paper better than with a keyboard on ephemera. I own no digital watch. In fact, I recently resurrected a wrist watch that likely belonged to my Great-Grandfather Bailey. I also have a railroad watch that was my Great-Grandfather Brooks’. I do not own a PDA- I have used them, but I do not like to learn a new way of writing just to use it. I’d much rather use a pen on dead trees. Here, I have great affinity with one Wendell Berry. Excerpts from his essay, entitled “Why I Am Not Going To Buy A Computer” are here. Though I am not a writer, I feel a resonance with Mr. Berry. Yet, I do own a computer.

All this, in relation to the NYTs article? Well, I feel Ms. Davis hit on something that many ignore – cycles. We all live in a world governed by cycles. Day to night. Summer to fall. Spring to summer. Cold to warm. Birth to death. We struggle to fight against each one, try to overcome it as if it were a barrier, a disease, a pest. Ms. Davis recognizes the daily, but temporary retirement of her laptop battery as a signal, a cyclical signal, to stop writing. Instead of charging on, defying the electrons present in the battery, she stops. And I plan to do the same tonight, when it is dark, when my body tells me. I too will stop, maybe read, maybe roast some coffee, but definitely rest.

Solo Deo Gloria,


About javajeb

Full time dad and IT guy. Part-time Sunday School teacher. Full-time follower of Christ.
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4 Responses to Electricity and the Cycles of Time

  1. Gerald says:

    Nearly two years from now, Jason, you will have a son and name him after that great grandfather. 🙂

    Cycles? We do live in world of cycles and we do try to ignore those cycles, don’t we? We no longer eat strawberries (or any other fruit) in its’ season. Instead we have them year round–imported from south of the border or even the equator.

    I wonder sometimes if the prevalence of food allergies these days might be related to that?

    Probably not. More likely it’s our genetic deterioration as we approach the end of the age. 🙂

    Sorry about commenting on a past post, but I was trying to find another post that I had tried to make a comment on. You had said something about living in a small town of 5,000 and that there was a small coffee-roasting business in town. I found that very interesting and thought I had made a comment on it, but weird things happened when I clicked the “Say it!” button so I wasn’t sure if the comment had gone through or not. Have been completely unable to find that page in your blog since then.

  2. javajeb says:

    Wow, you found an old one on which to comment. As for cycles, yes, you’ve hit it. We have no variance in our diets the way our ancestors did, to a certain extent. Sure, they canned and saved, but you can only do that so much. And I suspect the same, but wonder if it might go beyond food allergies.

    And yes, my little hamlet has a coffee shop that roasts it’s own. I’ve had a shot of espresso there once, and it’s nice stuff! We also have a European bakery that serves some less than stellar stuff. But the bread – incredible! Most of their supplies are imported from Europe. So, I guess the backside of the desert does have it’s perks.


  3. Gerald says:

    You do live in an interesting little town–a coffee roaster AND a bakery! My little town is the same size, but we have neither. But baking bread was once a specialty of mine and now I am a coffee roaster, so I guess we are not suffering too greatly.

    I’m also surprised that my comment went through. It did pretty much the same thing my other comment did so I thought it had disappeared into cyberspace.

  4. shelly says:

    i need that coffee!

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