Okay, I'm all for modern conveniences. Hot water from the tap is a lovely thing, obviously I use the internet, and Klondike Bars are wonderful, though I'm not too keen on microwaves, because they make the food taste, well, microwavy. However, I find that modern conveniences get in my way. They make things so easy that it seems foolish not to use them, and they're always there, screeching at you with their shrill little voices whenever you're trying to do something the old-fashioned way. But do they really make things so much easier? Wouldn't my novel progress faster if I were restricted to pen and paper without the distractions of email, ballet videos on YouTube, and, face it, this blog? I used to write letters much more often. I like the feel of real paper, the sound of the pen scratching away, the ink that leaves smudges on my hands (and, inevitably, my face and arms as well). But email is so fast, so easy. I also have really dreadful handwriting and email saves my friends the trial of trying to decipher it. And that quickly I am talked out of writing the real letter in favor of the more convenient option.
I've always rather enjoyed power outages. It forces one to slow down, to think, to be inventive, to read a book by candle-light. I remember as a child helping my parents haul water from the well during power outages, or, in the winter, melting snow on the stove to drink. I have rose-tinted memories of kerosine lamps, of cooking over the wood fire. Perhaps it wasn't really so wonderful. Perhaps it was. But it always made me feel empowered, independent, refreshed. I have known people who actually chose to forego plumbing in favor of a wash-tub in the kitchen and an outhouse. I am not in favor of such a step. I am not planning to cast off the shackles of the modern world and retreat to a cave in the hills, at least not at this time. But I may occasionally shake cream in a jar to make butter, just to prove that I can. Surely the goal is not to be bound at all, not to modernity, not to the past... to be whole in oneself, with the elements of the world around you only aiding you as they might.