April 20 – Freedom!

by Lily Iona MacKenzie

Freedom means many things to different people. For some, it conveys release from constraints. For others, it gives permission to not follow a particular religion or political ideology. Many are trying to free themselves from failed states. Still more want to be self-determining individuals that aren’t under anyone’s sway.

For me these days, freedom has more to do with technology overload and its tyranny. From the time I wake up until I go to sleep at night, different devices surround me. I go to my computer immediately to write my dreams in my journal. Then I check out email, visit the Times’ front page to catch up with whatever important news I missed while sleeping, look at my Facebook book page and scroll through messages, view my Google calendar to see what’s on my list for the day, get sidelined by hyperlinks that demand immediate attention, and so much more.

Throughout the day and evening, I’m frequently on my computer working on marketing tactics for my novels and poetry collection or writing. When I’m in my car commuting or at the gym, I listen on my smart phone to audio books and frequently check my email and phone messages. In the kitchen, while I prepare dinner, I watch my favorite programs (tennis, baseball, the Antiques Roadshow, and the PBS Newshour, programs that I’ve pre-recorded).

The one thing I don’t do yet is walk around with ear buds plugged into my ears, so I have some freedom! But I also have freedom when I write from the wonderful free application of the same name that I’ve downloaded onto my computer. I start it when I begin my writing time, and it keeps me from being distracted by all of the things I’ve mentioned above, allowing me to focus on my work. I’m also considering turning it on when I’m NOT writing so I can wean myself from this hi-tech world and the behavior it encourages.

Before I could finish this piece, I got sidetracked by the latest offering from Goldstar, and am still browsing through its current offerings. There’s no question that technology offers us much, but with as with anything in this world, there also is a downside. I’m aiming for more freedom. I hope you’ll join me!

Lily Iona MacKenzie has published poetry, short fiction, and essays in over 150 Canadian and American publications. Her poetry collection ALL THIS was published in October 2011. Her novel FLING! was published in 2015. BONE SONGS, another novel, will be published in November 2016. She taught writing for over 30 years. She blogs at http://lilyionamackenzie.wordpress.com/.


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