There are some days when I really need a break from the digital. Yes, I appreciate the irony of writing that on a computer and then sending it out to be viewed by strangers on the Internet. But some days I just want to turn my back on the whole thing. I don’t want to see people walking along the street so engrossed in their phones that they miss the swirl of the clouds in the sunrise. I don’t want to see another picture of a friend trying to convince everyone she has big Disney eyes and a flawless face. Especially when her real face, full of her amazing personality, is so much more beautiful. I don’t want to hear someone tell me the post office I walk past every other day isn’t there simply because it isn’t visible in Google.
I don’t want my great-grandchildren to look back at pictures of me and believe that the face seen through the filter was what I really looked like. I want my son to have a box filled with the letters and cards that I sent him at university, not just a few printed out emails and shared content on some obsolete social media. I want to leave behind a physical imprint, not a digital one.
This past weekend, after my trip to Torvehallerne to moon over cakes and dream of a life where I have a little cake stall in one of the market halls, I walked through the city and passed a bookshop that had succumbed to the January sales. Obviously I had no choice but to go inside. Now, I was very very good in that I did not buy another notebook and a set of glitter pens. Not even for an iPad Pro would I give up my notebooks, but occasionally I can resist the lure of a new one. I did, however, buy three books for the extreme bargain price of 100DKK. Bearing in mind a single book in Denmark normally costs at least twice that, it was a very good bargain indeed.
As I walked from display to display, shelf to shelf, I knew again and again that I wanted to do that one day. To write something that got put on the shelf or added to that delicious pile that people were feverishly digging through.
A novel that someone can pick up and put on the shelf. Not just something they download on their Kindles, tablets or phones. A novel that someone will spill tea on, take to bed when they’re sick, read on a plane one day when they sit next to me. Something left behind that has an impact on someone’s life.
A physical impact.
Not a digital one.