My weblog ELECTRON BLUE, which concentrated on science and mathematics, ran from 2004-2008. It is no longer being updated. My current blog, which is more art-related, is here.

Fri, 06 Jan, 2006

Doing Something

At the beginning of the year, as countless others do, I go through my accumulated saved e-mails and evaluate whether I want to keep them or not. I worked through my various mailing list archives, and saved them to text files (the much-maligned Microsoft Outlook allows me to do this). Somehow, during this fit of archiving and deleting the copied messages, I deleted all the messages in my "inbox." These were saved mostly from 2005, but a few of them went all the way back to 2003. There were about a hundred and thirty of them. Some came from friends and relatives, others from one-time or prospective art buyers. Others came from music correspondents or members of one or another group mailing list I belong to. With one negligent keystroke, they all disappeared for good.

I was horrified at first. What had I done? Suddenly all those nagging messages, which I had promised myself I was going to answer someday, had vanished. Old school contacts, Persian college students, esoteric researchers, and a couple of e-mails from Friendly Scientists went into the black hole. What a fool, I thought.

Then I realized that it wasn't that bad. In fact, I had probably done the right thing, however unplanned. If those lost clients or old schoolmates had wanted to get back in touch with me, my address hadn't changed. The researchers had probably already gotten whatever information they wanted from me and moved on. As for my Friendly Scientists and other current contacts, I had plenty of archived messages from them so that not much of our correspondence had been lost. And, frankly, I just don't get that much e-mail. I recently talked to a scientific researcher who said he got hundreds of (non-spam, research-related) e-mails every day.

Everybody tells me how "hectic," "crazy," and "insane" their lives and work are. This is an ongoing theme, and many Electron readers will also describe their lives this way. Physicists and other scientists, whose work hours are marvels of endurance, certainly do, and in fact one of the writers of the brilliant physics/life blog COSMIC VARIANCE posted a humorous essay about the need to take a break from that kind of life. But the reality is that "hectic crazy insane" can also add up to "productive." Work and ceaseless activity, with every hour scheduled and filled, is the badge of the achiever's life. And that's just what I haven't had in these last few weeks. I stumble home from work (usually after a coffee tipple at Starbucks) and just sit numbly in front of the computer, reading other people's writing or following various disasters on the newsfeeds. Where is my art, where is my physics? I have to get going, otherwise 2006 will go into the deletion bin as fast as my e-mails did. C'mon and get hectic! Do something now!

Posted at 3:05 am | link

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