John Freeman in Conversation with Aminatta Forna

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tiny Freemans Convo Poster8:00 PM | Copley Formal Lounge

Join Lannan Center’s Aminatta Forna for a night of conversation with former Granta editor John Freeman, as we celebrate the launch of a new literary anthology, Freeman’s.

This event is free and open to the public.

 

 


John Freeman on Email

The boundlessness of the Internet always runs into the hard fact of our animal nature, our physical limits, the dimensions of our cognitive present, the overheated capac­ity of our minds. "My friend has just had his PC wired for broadband," writes the poet Don Paterson. "I meet him in the café; he looks terrible—his face puffy and pale, his eyes bloodshot. . . . He tells me he is now detained, night and day, in downloading every album he ever owned, lost, desired, or was casually intrigued by; he has now stopped even listen­ing to them, and spends his time sleeplessly monitoring a progress bar. . . . He says it's like all my birthdays have come at once, by which I can see he means, precisely, that he feels he is going to die."

We will die, that much is certain; and everyone we have ever loved and cared about will die, too, sometimes—heartbreakingly—before us. Being someone else, traveling the world, making new friends gives us a temporary reprieve from this knowledge, which is spared most of the animal kingdom. Busyness—or the simulated busyness of email addiction—numbs the pain of this awareness, but it can never totally submerge it. Given that our days are limited, our hours precious, we have to decide what we want to do, what we want to say, what and who we care about, and how we want to allocate our time to these things within the limits that do not and cannot change. In short, we need to slow down.



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