As mentioned in other posts, I'm taking Sassyblack's lyric writing course with Hugo House and my artistic merits are being pushed into unknown territory. In less than four hours, I'm supposed to turn in lyrics for a song I wrote for my mother. It's a lullaby actually and will be part of my memoir. I have two lines written for today's assignment, so naturally I'm browsing the internet when there's an impending deadline.

Leading up to today's assignment, we've been studying lyrics that students self-selected, and David Sylvian's Orpheus was my pick. I've listed the lyrics below and whoa, what epic storytelling. While my lullaby won't be as rich, I'm nevertheless inspired to reach Sylvian's level of prose storytelling.

Orpheus by David Sylvian

Standing firm on this stony ground The wind blows hard Pulls these clothes around I harbour all the same worries as most The temptations to leave or to give up the ghost I wrestle with an outlook on life That shifts between darkness and shadowy light I struggle with words for fear that they'll hear But orpheus sleeps on his back still dead to the world Sunlight falls, my wings open wide There's a beauty here I cannot deny And bottles that tumble and crash on the stairs Are just so many people I knew never cared Down below on the wreck of the ship Are a stronghold of pleasures I couldn't regret But the baggage is swallowed up by the tide As orpheus keeps to his promise and stays by my side
Tell me, I've still a lot to learn Understand, these fires never stop Believe me, when this joke is tired of laughing I will hear the promise of my orpheus sing Sleepers sleep as we row the boat Just you the weather and I gave up hope But all of the hurdles that fell in our laps Were fuel for the fire and straw for our backs Still the voices have stories to tell Of the power struggles in heaven and hell But we feel secure against such mighty dreams As orpheus sings of the promise tomorrow may bring Tell me, I've still a lot to learn Understand, these fires never stop Please believe, when this joke is tired of laughing I will hear the promise of my orpheus sing

Social media is a mixed blessing. On one hand, I'm able to connect with and learn from creatives around the world. And connection, above all else, is what I crave during a pandemic quarantine. The crutch of virtual connectivity, of course, is I'm constantly scrolling on my phone or iPad all throughout my waking hours. Vox published How Technology Literally Changes Our Brains and I learned how my brain is being re-wired, for better or worse, from constant computer usage.

Nicholas Carr, whose 2010 book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, is at center of the article. Carr mentions that media has always re-rewired our brains, including literature:

I’ll start with the printing press. The arrival of the medium of printed text meant that we could sit down and read. [T]his was the big revolution because you can only read by yourself — it’s not a group activity. So when people started to read and literacy became more and more widespread, people removed themselves from the social world that they spent most of their time in.

Karr continues and mentions that, because of the growth of visual media, like the internet, our visual muscles strengthen. But -- and this is a big but -- visual muscles strengthen only from dominant workouts we put ourselves through: from seeing a computer or phone screen.

But we also lost something. One thing we lost is a lot of our visual acuity in reading nature and reading the world. If you look at older cultures that aren’t text-based, you see incredible abilities to, for instance, navigate by all sorts of natural signs.

I do my best to limit my screen usage, especially during evening times when I watch television with my partner. Partial attention is my own fault, so I've started a craft project of re-creating first edition book covers with glue and paper when I'd otherwise phone scroll into infinity in front of the TV. I'll post more about this project next week.

The article is an interesting read. Find it here: How Technology Literally Changes Our Brains

D.A. Navoti

About the Writer

D.A. NAVOTI (@da.navoti) is a creative nonfiction and poetic prose storyteller. He's a 2020 Seattle CityArtist recipient and a former fellow at Hugo House and Jackstraw Cultural Center. Read More... 

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