One of the things I like about flying is that mostly you are forced to be off-line. On most flights that is, although I did get a chance flying back from the USA mid year to use the in-flight United airlines Internet. No Internet does stop me setting my iPad to flight mode and doing things like reading saved pages on the “read it later” app, playing games or writing in preparation for a long over due blog post. It’s nearly like being online.
What I do like is actually having time to read the newspaper sections that normally get saved for later, sit on the bench at home and then they are finally are recycled before you can read them in-depth. The Australian Weekend has an array of articles in the Review Magazine where experts write in-depth about arts topics, books they have recently read through to comments on next weeks TV programmes slotted in next to the TV guide.
The writing is sculptured for an audience that still reads books with over 300 pages. People that can concentrate for more than few minutes on the same topic. Those that can follow the logic of a good debate. Many articles have well over a thousand words, spreading onto a second page. Some sentences have multiple parts as the writers develop concepts supporting views from year of experience, academia or just a well read interest in the topic. “..tenets of empiricist philosophy and logic…”, “…complicated by cultural and linguistic factors…”, “…eccentric recidivists…” and many other flashes of descriptive prose are dotted throughout the writing using words you rarely see in social media.
The colour red, for example, a simple three-letter word is a lot more interesting with a couple of pages of writing reminding what I had forgotten or bringing new content to what some days seems like an already overloaded mind.
It is nice to read something that is not a quick status update, click of a like button or an update wrapped in loads of images, video and comments to keep our attention. Learn something about the Booker prize short list, who might be the next Harry Potter, comments on opening stanzas of poems I will probably never read or a new independent film maker.
Try an enforced period offline, read something different and you might find out some unexpected.
Quotes are from The Australian Weekend Australian review, October 15-16 2011.
What do you do while flying? Are you waiting for the movie to start?