No More Avatars

Okay, so to set the stage, I’ll remind y’all that my friend was going out to Palm Springs for a vacation with some girlfriends, and she had an extra bed in her room and said if I could swing the plane ticket, I was welcome to come crash there, and I thought about my plan to try to do a writing / travel retreat once a month this year because I have like 7 books I want to write (several of them half-done), and how I didn’t have anything planned for February yet, and I said yes, please.

So hey, I’m in Palm Springs. First best bit — getting off the plane in the little airport, taking something like ten steps to the door, and realizing that you’re walking outside, in the bright sunshine, to get to baggage claim. Coat off, sweater off, tank top is plenty. Woot!

As I get older (currently 50), I admit that I’m having a harder and harder time with Midwest winter. Kevin and I have been talking about how to manage that, and even if we retire in Oak Park, I think we’ll try to spend a good portion of the winter away. Our Bay Area friends and family should be prepared to have frozen Midwesterners descending on them for a few weeks in January / February, is what I’m saying. 🙂

I got some good work done on the plane, laying out ALL the books I currently have planned in the Jump Space universe, and I’m excited about that.

I also spent most of it reading a novel, Station Eleven, which I’d been a little hesitant to read because it takes place before and after a pandemic — but not really during, so much, because it’s a devastating one that wipes out most of the Earth’s population in a matter of days. So it ended up being much less like our recent pandemic experience than it might have been, which was good, because otherwise, I think it might’ve been a little traumatic to read through.

It still made me almost cry a couple times on the plane, though. Oof. It’s funny — I wasn’t particularly bothered by the idea of losing electricity, but losing the internet and losing plane travel both really got me. If there’s one luxury I really value, it’s being able to fly to distant places. And my life has become so entwined with the internet, it’s hard for me to imagine who I’d be without it, and all of you lovely people.

Beautiful prose, really enjoyed it, recommended. It’s out as a TV series now, so I’ll likely watch that with Kevin once I get back to Chicago.


“No more Internet. No more social media, no more scrolling through litanies of dreams and nervous hopes and photographs of lunches, cries for help and expressions of contentment and relationship-status updates with heart icons whole or broken, plans to meet up later, pleas, complaints, desires, pictures of babies dressed as bears or peppers for Halloween. No more reading and commenting on the lives of others, and in so doing, feeling slightly less alone in the room. No more avatars.”

― Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven


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